Twitter said Tuesday that the “open Internet” is more at risk than ever before, and argued for the need for a coordinated strategy to defend a free and global Internet. This development comes as debate mounts over moderation and regulation of content on social media platforms in India. Twitter in particular has been embroiled in an uphill battle with the Indian government, especially over its compliance with the country’s new IT rules.
In a political document, Twitter said that “Governments that seek to defend and expand online freedom cannot sit idly by as other countries seek to silence critics, censor journalists and block the access to information ”. He also called “the harassment of employees of service providers” a worrying trend, “accelerated by proposals to demand that local staff be responsible for decisions rather than the legal entity.”
The document states that “as the control of digital infrastructure is increasingly at the center of geopolitical action, these issues cannot be viewed in isolation. It is essential that there is a coordinated, multi-stakeholder strategy to respond to these threats and defend the open, free, secure and global Internet.
The document clearly expresses Twitter’s position on the need to defend an “open Internet” and sets out five principles for the same. These principles are as follows:
The open Internet is global, should be accessible to all, and should be based on open standards and the protection of human rights. The second is that trust is essential and can be built with transparency, procedural fairness and privacy.
The third is that recommendation and ranking algorithms should be subject to human choice and control. Fourth, competition, choice and innovation are the foundations of the open Internet and must be protected and extended, ensuring that incumbents are not anchored in laws and regulations.
Finally, moderation of content is not limited to leaving it or removing it. Regulation should allow a range of interventions while setting clear definitions for content categories.
Twitter’s opinion is that the open Internet is not something to be taken for granted; and in the years to come, decisions will be made that will define its future. “The targeting of independent journalists and activists highlights the willingness of some states and actors to use digital politics and manipulation to control political debate,” he also added.
The company also noted that the 24-hour window to remove content is having an impact on small businesses and newer services that have more limited resources to litigate or pay fines.
“As has been noted by a range of voices, the combination of significant administrative penalties for individual pieces of content and the removal expected in short periods – whether it is an hour or 24 hours – creates a A significant incentive for businesses to remove too much content, especially in extreme cases, and which hits small businesses and newer services harder that have more limited resources to litigate or pay fines, ”the newspaper explains.
It should be noted that the new IT rules (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Code of Ethics for Digital Media), 2021, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter must remove content no later than 36 hours after a government or legal order.
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