Here are the top 10 facts in this story:
- Twitter has promised to cooperate with the government in blocking accounts that masquerade as the account of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
- Six accounts were identified as problematic by the PMO; one of them posted a communally sensitive tweet two months ago. The PMO was worried that this post could be mistaken as a tweet from its official account, and could cause serious damage.
- The other five accounts were targeted because their twitter handles closely resemble that of the Prime Minister's Office (@PMOIndia).
- Yesterday, the Ministry of Information and Technology warned Twitter that if it did not block the blacklisted accounts, action would be taken against the micro-blogging site.
- Twitter responded today with an offer of support. It said it is "now actively reviewing" the request and will be seeking additional information from the Ministry of Communication and IT "to locate the unlawful content and the specific unlawful tweet", they said.
- When the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had first approached Twitter, sources say the company was not responsive. The PMO then asked the Cyber Security Cell of the Department of IT to block the half-dozen accounts.
- In recent weeks, some of the accounts started operating again. The government then asked for a formal warning to be issued to Twitter.
- The company has told the PMO that it could not take action earlier because the Indian government's request was not placed through the correct electronic process and was hence not received.
- "India is important to us and we would like to have clearer communication in these matters in future," the firm's statement said, adding that Twitter should be put in touch with appropriate government departments.
- These Twitter accounts that are to be blocked are not linked to the recent hate campaign against people from the North East. Online and text messages had warned that north-easterners who have migrated to other states and cities would be targeted after Eid as revenge for violence against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar. Thousands of people from the North-East boarded special trains to head home. The government has identified 310 websites, pages, and blogs that are to be blocked for instigating communal hatred and spreading vicious rumours.
(With inputs from Agencies)