In the modern-day information age of the 21st century, social media has become more than just a platform for socializing and staying connected with your family and friends. Today social media is not just a platform for giving your opinion but is also an active participant in forming the narrative of the masses at large. On one side one can argue that this means democratization of the opinion space which was once a hegemony of the editors of big news channels and newspapers. On the other side, this is dangerous too as there are no editorial filters or cross-check mechanisms on social media therefore spreading fake news and communally charged speeches becomes very easy. It was just a matter of time before the authorities would have started their intervention into this space, and it seems the time has come.
'Still stand with farmers', tweets Greta Thunberg after Twitter controversy https://t.co/OihfTVF9A5
— Hindustan Times (@HindustanTimes) February 4, 2021
The latest feud can be witnessed between the Government of India and Twitter. Where the Government has threatened Twitter with a complete ban if Twitter will do non-compliance with the Government’s order and not ban the accounts which were requested by the government. This warning came after Twitter first banned few dozens of accounts but lifted the ban afterward. These bans were related to a few of the hashtags which according to the government were spreading false propaganda and hate against the ongoing farm protest on the borders of Delhi. The IT ministry has taken a stand where they are saying that Twitter cannot act as a tribunal and sit on judgment second-guessing the orders of the government, whereas Twitter declined to comment. But this move did not go unnoticed by the people on the internet and a debate raged itself about the fine balance between freedom of speech and genuine concerns of national security, sovereignty, and law of the land.
Moves like these no matter how genuine they are always going to attract criticism from a particular section of the masses. But the fact remains that even if some consider the move by the government is wrong, the Corporates should not have the right to second guess the decisions of the government. They can always go to the courts and make their case, but a corporate challenging the sovereign state is a dangerous precedent and should be avoided at any cost.