- BJP leader Vinit Goenka had filed the petition in May last year
- Political parties using fake accounts to "tarnish opponents", he said
- There were hundreds of fake accounts in name of eminent people, he said
The Supreme Court today issued notice to the government and Twitter on a petition asking for a mechanism to check fake news and hate messages, seditious and incendiary content on Twitter and other social media platforms.
BJP leader Vinit Goenka had filed the petition in May last year, asking for a mechanism to check Twitter content and advertisements spreading hatred through fake news and instigative messages though fake accounts.
The petition said there were hundreds of fake twitter handles and Facebook accounts in the name of eminent people and dignitaries and he had sought action, but none was taken. Social media accounts were used by political parties to "tarnish the image of opponents", particularly during elections, the BJP leader said.
The top court heard the petition at a time the government has been pressing Twitter to block nearly 1,100 accounts and posts that it says have been spreading misinformation and provocative content linked to the farmer protests against central agricultural laws since November.
The government has also drawn up draft rules to regulate social media, streaming and digital news content, which will include a code of ethics and a mechanism to report problematic content and ask for its removal.
Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, speaking in parliament yesterday, mentioned Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and WhatsApp by name and said they were welcome to do business in India, but only if they played by India's rules. "You will have to follow the constitution of India, you will have to abide by the laws of India," he said.
Twitter said it had not blocked all of the content because it believed the government's orders were not in line with Indian laws. It permanently suspended some accounts and blocked access to many others in India, though their posts could be read outside the country.