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Twitter blocks Ravi Shankar's account for an hour, IT Minister fumes

Twitter says that his account has been locked following a Digital Millennium Copyright Act Notice for content posted on his account

Friday June 25, 2021 5:02 PM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

Ravi Shankar Prasad Twitter

New Delhi: Amid the tussle between Twitter and the union government over the new IT rules, Union Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was denied access to his Twitter account for almost an hour over alleged violation of the US' Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

In a screenshot shared by the Union minister, Twitter informs that his account has been locked following a Digital Millennium Copyright Act Notice for content posted on his account.

Although, the minister was subsequently allowed to access the account, the minister using another social media platform called the action by the US-headquartered Twitter as "a gross violation of the IT guidelines".

"Twitter's actions were in gross violation of Rule 4(8) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 where they failed to provide me any prior notice before denying me access to my own account," he said.

Prasad, who has been at the forefront of government's drive to bring in more compliance and stricter norms for social media platforms, added:

"It is apparent that my statements calling out the high handedness and arbitrary actions of Twitter, particularly sharing the clips of my interviews to TV channels and its powerful impact, have clearly ruffled its feathers."

Further, the minister, who also handles the portfolio of law said that it is now apparent as to why Twitter is refusing to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines because if Twitter does comply, it would be unable to arbitrarily deny access to an individual's account which does not suit their agenda.

The minister also said that Twitter's actions indicate that they are not the harbinger of free speech that they claim to be but are only interested in running their own agenda, with the threat that if you do not toe the line they draw, they will arbitrarily remove you from their platform.

"No matter what any platform does they will have to abide by the new IT Rules fully and there shall be no compromise on that," he added.

"Twitter unperturbed"

Twitter on the other hand is unperturbed by Ravi Shankar Prasad's outburst. Granting Prasad access to his account, Twitter, in another message, warned that his account would be locked again and potentially suspended if any additional notices are received against it.

“In order to avoid this, do not post additional materials in violation of our Copyright Policy and immediately remove any material from your account for which you are not authorised to post,” Twitter said.

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