New Delhi: A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court claiming that Twitter, which does not have government control, acts unethically and “shadow bans” many accounts which doesn’t suit its ideological inclination.
The plea, moved by advocate Mehek Maheshwari, has urged the top court to frame guidelines to regulate social media platforms’ responsibility, with regard to exercise of fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression. The petitioner has impleaded the Centre and Twitter as parties in the plea.
“The situation becomes worse when a simple social media platform starts to support a particular ideological wing creating a rift among masses by treating them unequally building ecosystem against the nation”, said the plea, citing complaints of Twitter followers of Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy, when his tweets were invisible.
The plea said over the years, a number of users have experienced that their content does not reach the desired number of users. “Shadow banning is an act where a social media portal can partially block a user from their online community,” said the petitioner, citing his personal experience.
The petitioner has contended that Twitter had “crossed all limits of lawlessness” when it supported the mocking of the highest judiciary of the country. The petitioner has emphasised that Twitter operates in Indian space and is so bound to maintain integrity and sovereign nature of the country.
The plea said major nations like Germany, Australia, Russia, China which are at par with India had already enacted laws to curb the self-governance of such social media platforms, adding that due to lack of the government control and intervention on social media, Twitter acts the way it fits its “way, ideology and desires”.
Citing the issues with self-governance model of social media platforms, the petitioner argued that when these platforms start playing with nation’s institutions by way of acting with bias in the name of self-governance by holding on to a thread of a certain ideology, which may lead to unrest in a country.
The plea has sought direction to frame the guidelines fixing the responsibility of the officers of Ministries of Electronics and Information Technology, and Information & Broadcasting with regard to hearing of the grievances/complaints against the social media platforms and their redressal in time-bound manner.
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