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Twitter seeks formal dialogue with MEITY after notice to block accounts

The platform stated that the safety of its employees is a ‘top priority.’

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NEW DELHI: Amid the ongoing tussle with the government over blocking of certain accounts related to the ongoing farmers’ protest, Twitter has reached out to the ministry of electronics and information technology (MEITY) seeking formal dialogue on the matter, news agency PTI has reported.

Acknowledging the receipt of the non-compliance notice issued by the Centre, a spokesperson for the microblogging platform stated: "We continue to be engaged with the government of India from a position of respect and have reached out to the honourable minister, ministry of electronics and information technology for a formal dialogue."

Twitter also noted that the safety of its employees is a “top priority.”

Last week, the government ordered Twitter to block 1,178 accounts which it claimed were spreading misinformation and provocative content regarding the farmers' protest. Prior to that, it had issued a notice to the social media network to comply with its order on removal of content related to “farmer genocide” alleging that the material was designed to incite passion and adversely impact public order. The government had also warned that refusal to do so may invite penal action.

The notice had followed Twitter’s move to restore about 250 accounts which the Centre had asked it to take down, saying that these handles did not violate the company’s policies.

In the midst of this back and forth, news emerged of Twitter India’s director of public policy Mahima Kaul resigning from her post citing “personal reasons”, leading to speculations that her departure was due to the ongoing row. Twitter, however, has denied this to be the case.

The Twitter spokesperson told PTI that the company reviews every report it receives from the government as expeditiously as possible.

It will "take appropriate action regarding such reports while making sure we hold firm to our fundamental values and commitment to protecting the public conversation,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson emphasised that Twitter strongly believes that the open and free exchange of information has a positive global impact, and that the tweets must continue to flow.

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