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Govt asks Twitter to remove misleading posts around coronavirus

The flagged posts allegedly carried misleading information about the pandemic and incited public panic. A Twitter spokesperson said that it reviews valid legal requests under both Twitter Rules and local law

The central government has asked social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook to remove posts that are allegedly spreading misinformation about the coronavirus situation. Twitter said that it has notified the affected users of the action taken by the government but has not divulged any details.

The flagged posts allegedly carried misleading information about the pandemic and incited public panic, sources told news agency PTI. A Twitter spokesperson said that it reviews valid legal requests under both Twitter Rules and local law. "If the content violates Twitter's Rules, the content will be removed from the service. If it is determined to be illegal in a particular jurisdiction, but not in violation of the Twitter Rules, we may withhold access to the content in India only. The legal requests that we receive are detailed in the biannual Twitter Transparency Report, and requests to withhold content are published on Lumen," the spokesperson said.

Reports citing independent research project on ceasing and desisting letters of online content, Lumen database, suggested that more than 50 posts, including those of parliamentarians, and filmmakers were removed by Twitter on government request. Member of Parliament Revanth Reddy, West Bengal Minister Moloy Ghatak, actor Vineet Kumar Singh, and filmmakers Vinod Kapri and Avinash Das were among those whose posts were removed by the social media site.

Meanwhile, Twitter has notified the account holders before withholding content so that they are aware of the action taken in response to the legal request from the government.

The microblogging site said that it is committed to openness and transparency and that it tackles misinformation on the highest potential for harm

Facebook and Instagram did not respond to queries. According to sources, a number of posts and content were flagged by the government to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other websites on Friday.

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