Photo: Pexels
Photo: Pexels

It may sound far-fetched to some, but others online are convinced that a Twitter ban in India is imminent. With the company locked in a war of sorts with the Indian government, many in India are shifting to a new desi alternative to the social media platform. Over the last few days, the Indian government has repeatedly endorsed the Koo app. Several Union Ministers and high profile politicians have joined the Made in India platform, and government bodies such as PIB, Niti Aayog and MyGov.

But does this mean Twitter will soon be banned in India?

So far, there has been no official indication of this. While the two parties remain firm on their opposing viewpoints, the murmurs about a possible ban have primarily been the work of those wholly uninvolved in the discussions.

As of Thursday, many still continue to rail against the US-based company, with the hashtag "Ban Twitter India" trending repeatedly. Of course the posts about banning Twitter are being shared on the platform itself, but that is neither here nor there.

"The Govt. conveyed to the Twitter leadership that the manner in which Twitter officially allows fake, unverified, anonymous and automated bot accounts to be operated on its platform, raises doubts about its commitment to transparency and healthy conversation on this platform. Twitter leadership affirmed their commitment towards following Indian laws and rules," reads a PIB press release shared after the Secretary of India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology met with top Twitter officials.

According to the press note Twitter had also expressed their "continuing commitment towards building their services in India" and called for greater engagement with the government.

But even as the government appears to have made it's stance clear to Twitter, the oganisation appears to be maintaining its own position. an updated response to the Indian Government's blocking orders was shared on the Twitter blog on Wednesday. Highlighting the steps that the company had taken on its own following the Republic Day clashes, Twitter said that the Indian government had served several separate blocking orders over the last 10 days.

And while they had complied with two emergency blocking orders, they had later restored access to this content. While Twitter says this was done in a manner that they believe was "consistent with Indian law", the government does not seem to agree.

Twitter vs Govt: As demand to ban social media giant grows, here is what each side says

In a strongly worded message Twitter appears to be indicating that the government's recent actions are not "consistent with Indian law".

"In keeping with our principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action on accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians. To do so, we believe, would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law," the organisation insists.

Twitter also seems open to debating the topic in a court of law. According to the company they are "exploring options under Indian law' for both themselves and the affected accounts.

And as the rift appears to be growing wider, many are convinced that the microblogging platform will soon face punitive action. It now remains to be seen whether both parties' insistence on maintaining dialogue bears fruit.

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Free Press Journal