In India, Twitter has had a particularly difficult year. However,even many who would like to be on the company's side are bewildered by thecompany's response to the upheaval.
The top IT companies in Silicon Valley have been involved in a tensestandoff with India over the government's harsh new information technologyguidelines, which were enacted in February. The laws aim to regulate internet content by requiring businesses to recruit people who can respond quickly to legal requests to erase posts, among other things – and these executives might face criminal charges if flagged content is not deleted.
These guidelines might conceivably address substantial, real worriesabout Big Tech's expansion into India and elsewhere. American social networkshave expanded into other nations, eager to reach enormous new markets but seemingly unconcerned about the impact their platforms may have on the people who live there, and with little experience or infrastructure to address such impacts. This can have major ramifications, such as Facebook's presence in Myanmar, as well as little ones. Authorities in India, for example, who are having an urgent problem with stuff on Twitter, may have to wait until people in California, who are 12 hours ahead of them, are available.
However, activists and internet companies are concerned that the newlaws will give Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government too much discretionarypower, with the primary impact of allowing the government to target and restrict political opponents.
Twitter has become the government's favorite punching bag in themidst of all of this.
The corporation has struggled to fill crucial government-mandatedpositions where other companies have had more success. And tech experts told usthat they're perplexed by Twitter's seeming unwillingness to commit to either following the rules or ignoring them completely.
"In India, there has been a huge rise in digitalauthoritarianism this year... and Twitter has been used as a scapegoat to senda message to other firms," said Raman Jit Singh Chima, Asia policy director and senior international counsel at digital rights group Access Now. He went on to say that Twitter was probably unaware of how much of a target it had become until it was too late.
"They might have been more transparent with the issues they'vebeen encountering if they had," he said.
Instead, Twitter's public response and involvement with authorities,tech advocacy groups, and even the media has been "sporadic," accordingto Chima, making it difficult for prospective allies to defend the firm against the government's onslaught.
Now, the internet behemoth finds itself in unfamiliar territory inone of its most important markets. In India, Twitter has lost its exemptionfrom third-party material, which means it can now be sued for anything its users post on the network. In India, the firm is also the subject of a number of police investigations, including one into how it handled tweets from a top governing party figure. t