IT Minister says Twitter blocked his account in violation of IT rule

Union minister for electronics information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday that Twitter blocked his account temporarily, was in violation of the new IT Rules notified by his ministry.

“Friends! Something highly peculiar happened today. Twitter denied access to my account for almost an hour on the alleged ground that there was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of the USA subsequently they allowed me to access the account,” he tweeted.

Prasad added that the microblogging platform’s actions were in “gross violation” of Rule 4(8) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.

The Rule says that a social media intermediary, in this case Twitter, has to “ensure that prior to the time at which such intermediary removes or disables access, it has provided the user who has created, uploaded, shared, disseminated, or modified information, data or communication link using its services with a notification explaining the action being taken the grounds or reasons for such action”.

Prasad said Twitter “failed to provide me any prior notice before denying me access to my own account”.

He further said that his interviews on Twitter’s non-compliance with the new IT Rules, clips of which he has been sharing over the past few weeks, have not gone down well with the platform.

“It is apparent that my statements calling out the high handedness arbitrary actions of Twitter, particularly sharing the clips of my interviews to TV channels its powerful impact, have clearly ruffled its feathers,” the Minister said.

Though the Twitter account of the Minister was visible for public viewing, Twitter did not permit anyone authorized to access this account to log in or make any post.

The DMCA is a copyright law, is used in case an image, service, property copyrighted by someone is misused.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In its Help Centre, Twitter explains the actions it takes under a DMCA complaint: “Twitter will respond to reports of alleged copyright infringement, such as allegations concerning the unauthorized use of a copyrighted image as a profile or header photo, allegations concerning the unauthorized use of a copyrighted video or image uploaded through our media hosting services, or Tweets containing links to allegedly infringing materials. Note that not all unauthorized uses of copyrighted materials are infringements.”

The Minister further said no television channel or any anchor has made any complaints about copyright infringements with regard to the news clips of his interviews shared on social media.

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