Lack of safety on internet is due to bots and unregulated use of algorithms, among other things, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, minister of state for electronics and information technology (MeitY) said in a tweet on Thursday.
In response to a Reuters report stating that Disney found ‘substantial’ fake Twitter users in 2016, Chandrasekhar tweeted that ‘platforms which ignore their legal responsibilities of due diligence and permit illegal activities and misinformation’ were threats to ‘safe and trusted internet’.
This also holds significance because in the current legal battle which is going on between the Indian government and Twitter at Karnataka high court, the government has emphasised that it was unclear whether the accounts that were blocked were unverified for being fake, bots or being operated by Indian citizens.
Twitter had approached court seeking relief from 39 blocking orders issued by MeitY under Section 69A of the IT Act 2000.
Twitter has been facing a lot of flak overseas as well on the issue of bots on the social media platform. The matter has proven to be a ‘deal-breaker’, with billionaire Elon Musk refusing to go ahead with his plan to buy the company, saying the microblogging platform was not sharing the real number of bots and actual accounts.
Back in India, Chandrasekhar has been criticising internet platforms for the current controversies surrounding them. Earlier this week, the minister had said that that no intermediary operating in India can permit misinformation and deliberate efforts to incitement and user harm, which violates the government’s expectation of a safe and trusted internet, after a Wikipedia page entry on Indian cricket team’s fast bowler Arshdeep Singh associated player with Khalistan.
He also later warned for Wikipedia to remain an intermediary in the country, the platform has to remain consistent with the country’s goal of ‘safe and trusted internet’.
The IT ministry is looking at a ‘complete overhaul’ of the country’s cyber laws and Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw recently said that the government was going to introduce the proposed new version of the Data Protection Bill and amendment to the IT Act 2000, known as the Digital India Act, to make ‘the online world more accountable for what is being published’.
The government is also expected to come out with the amendments to the IT Rules, Chandrasekhar said in an event on Wednesday.