Amid disturbing disclosures about microblogging site Twitter blacklisting content and preventing disfavoured tweets from trending, the Indian government on Friday said that it may ponder on including provisions in the proposed Digital India Act to prevent this kind of shadow banning or “visibility filtering”.
Minister of State for IT and electronics Rajeev Chandrasekhar told media persons that the government won’t allow weaponisation of information and added that though the ministry had pre-empted such threats while notifying the amended IT rules last month, in the light of this revelation, it could think of including stricter provisions to prevent such activities in the proposed Digital India Act.
“We can only appeal social media platforms to heed to the new rules. However if they still violate them, then we will remove them from using safe hours provisions and they will be liable for prosecution,” he said.
The minister said that though the government was aware of such practices while drafting the amended IT rules, it had no evidence that it was being done in such a systematic and planned way.
“So now we could be forced to rethink on whether we need to do more to strengthen the rules further. And therefore we may bring in provisions to deal with shadow banning while finalising the Digital India Act,” he said.
Chandrasekhar further said that social media platforms would have to practice self regulation.
Journalist Bari Weiss has revealed through her investigation that teams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavoured tweets from trending and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics, secretly, without informing users.
This has led to a lot furore among users worldwide.