Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor Faces Twitter Lockout After Posts About India’s IT Minister

Earlier this week, Twitter lost its legal protection status in India, due to non-compliance with new Information and Technology (IT) rules. The development sparked concerns among its users that the micro-blogging platform could be banned from the country altogether.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said on Friday that his Twitter account had briefly been blocked after he posted an explainer on why Indian Information Technology (IT) Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had been blocked from posting from his handle.

Opposition lawmaker Shashi Tharoor’s Twitter account was blocked twice on Friday. The Member of Parliament (MP) from Thiruvananthapuram in the Indian state of Kerala said that his Twitter account was locked due to a copyright infringement.

His account was blocked for the second time after the Congress leader posted a copyrighted video explaining why Twitter had blocked Indian IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s account.

Tharoor termed the blocking of his account as foolish.

“And @Twitter locked me out again because to explain the problem, the first tweet in this thread included the offending copyrighted video. Locking is a foolish response to a DCMA notice; disabling the video [which they’ve now done] should be enough. @Twitter has a lot to learn,” Tharoor tweeted.

​After Twitter blocked the Indian IT Minister’s account, Tharoor took to Twitter to post several tweets which said that Prasad was locked out of his account due to an alleged violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA governs almost all American-based social media platforms.

However, moments after posting those explanatory tweets, Tharoor’s account was blocked, with the company citing the same violations.

Tharoor, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, said that he would seek an explanation from Twitter regarding the blocking of both his and Prasad’s accounts.

​On Friday, Ravi Shankar Prasad had alleged that he was denied access to his Twitter account for nearly an hour after he violated the stringent DMCA act by posting video clips of his appearances on various television channels.

“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 and subsequently they allowed me to access the account,” Prasad said on Twitter after his account was restored by the US technology giant.

​Prasad’s latest feud with Twitter came after the micro-blogging site’s long-standing clash with the BJP-led federal government over a range of issues. According to the Indian government, the US company hasn’t acted in accordance with the law.

Twitter has also failed in its attempt to take down tweets supporting the farmers’ protest, and has discredited posts made by the party’s leaders in recent times.

India’s new IT rules mandate the appointment of India-based compliance executives for all social networking sites. These new rules have led to a long-standing feud between Twitter and the government and have raised worries that the company may no longer enjoy legal protection in India.

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