SC to hear pleas accusing Twitter of promoting fake news, anti-India content

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Former national co-convener of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT cell Vinit Goenka, advocates Vinit Jindal, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and others had filed petitions in the apex court on the issue.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear pleas today seeking directions to the government to bring in legislation enabling the prosecution of Twitter for alleged “anti-India tweets”. One of the pleas has sought the framing of a mechanism that could check advertisements and paid content on Twitter that may be hateful or seditious and to rein in social media accounts “in order to stop the hatred, fake, investigative and other news which are contrary to the law of the country or violates the law of the country”.

Former national co-convener of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT cell Vinit Goenka, advocates Vinit Jindal, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and others had filed petitions in the apex court on the issue. The court issued a notice to the Central government in February and tagged Goenka’s plea along with another similar matter pending before the top court. A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar will hear pleas today.

In his plea, Goenka alleged that the social media company is sympathetic to terrorist groups and promotes tweets that are “anti-India” and amount to waging war against the Union. The plea claimed that fake Twitter handles are used to”propagate casteism, communalism, regionalism, linguism, radicalism, and separatism, which endanger fraternity, unity and regional integration.”

It also mentioned Twitter’s refusal to block Twitter handles allegedly involved in promoting fake and provocative content. The petition stated that social media platforms, in the absence of any law to deal with offensive and hatred messages, “knowingly” promote messages which are “against the law of the land.”

Advocate Vinit Jindal had sought directions for the central government to formulate laws that regulate and enforce accountability on social media platforms for spreading hate speech and fake news. He also sought directions to frame criminal prosecutions on those who are involved in spreading fake news or hate via social media channels.

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