A new report from The Wall Street Journal today says that India’s movement has “threatened to jail employees” of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter. This comes as the rift between India officials and social media companies continues to grow.
The report provides some background on the situation in India:
The warnings are in direct response to the tech companies’ reluctance to comply with data and takedown requests from the government related to protests by Indian farmers that have made international headlines, the people say.
The threats mark an escalation of India’s efforts to pressure US tech companies at a moment when those companies are looking to the world’s second-most-populous nation for growth in the coming years.
According to two people familiar with the warnings, the report explains that “some of the written warnings cite specific, India-based employees at risk of arrest if the companies don’t comply” with the data and takedown requests.
Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp all issued their own statements on the situation:
A WhatsApp spokesman said the company complies with data requests that are “consistent with internationally recognized standards including human rights, due process, and the rule of law.” A Facebook spokesman said the company “responds to government requests for data in accordance with applicable law and our terms of service.”
Twitter “will continue to advocate for the fundamental principles of the Open Internet,” a company spokesman said, adding: “Threats to these principles are on the rise around the world, which is of deep concern.”
Further data from Facebook indicates that the company has complied with half the takedown requests from the Indian government. Twitter has complied with 1% of those requests, its data shows. WhatsApp messages are encrypted and therefore unable to be read by outside parties, but that hasn’t stopped regulators from requesting the data anyways.
The full report from the Wall Street Journal is well worth a read.
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