Twitter India’s top executive tweeted a poster on the microblogging website that was seen as alluding to the trouble the social media giant is facing with the authorities in India.
Twitter India managing director Manish Maheshwari, who posted the slogan poster today, was criticised by the Delhi Police yesterday for allegedly trying to dodge queries on content filtering and on the grounds that he was merely a sales head and had no role in operations linked to content.
“It’s going to be hard, but hard does not mean impossible (sic),” Mr Maheshwari tweeted today, in what was seen as acknowledgement of the choppy waters on which Twitter has to navigate in India right now.
That’s the tweet. pic.twitter.com/dBuFYB2nvT
— Manish Maheshwari (@manishm) May 28, 2021
Hours later, Mr Maheshwari on a lighter note, tweeted an epilogue to his poster post: “I meant spending the weekend without the internet. My home broadband is down. Any other option @NetflixIndia?”
Yesterday, Mr Maheshwari was singled out in a statement by the Delhi Police for allegedly taking “a path of evasiveness instead of cooperation.”
“Twitter India’s subsidiary, TCIPL’s Managing Director, chose to adopt a path of evasiveness instead of cooperation. Initially, Twitter India Managing Director stated in his response that he was merely a sales head, had no role whatsoever in any operations relating to content and thereby refused to join the inquiry. It is to be noted that Twitter India’s stance that its Managing Director is a mere sales head runs contrary to his very own previous press interviews wherein he elaborately discussed Twitter’s plan to devise methods to identify abusive/manipulative content. The interview makes it clear that Twitter India’s convoluted stance is similar to a deer caught in the headlights,” the police said yesterday.
The social media giant owned by Jack Dorsey earlier this month marked a tweet by a BJP leader as “manipulated media”. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on May 18 tweeted what he called a “Congress toolkit” – shared by many BJP leaders – designed to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discredit the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. The Congress then wrote to Twitter saying the alleged “toolkit” was fake.
The move opened the floodgates to criticism of Twitter by the government. Soon, the police also got involved. It said the reason it is investigating the matter is to check how Twitter came to a conclusion that the tweet by Mr Patra was “manipulated media”, as without evidence in hand Twitter wouldn’t have made that call.