Twitter carries distorted map of India, removes it after backlash

Tuesday, 29 June 2021 | PNS | New Delhi

Govt takes note of misrepresentation, to take strict action 

Days after blocking Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s Twitter account for almost an hour, Twitter courted a new controversy on Monday after a page on its website showed a distorted map of India. This time map on Twitter showed Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh as separate countries. This is the second time Twitter has misrepresented India’s map. Earlier, it had shown Leh as part of China.

However, soon after a backlash on social media, Twitter removed from its website the distorted map of India.

Sources said the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is looking into the issue, and the Government may take strict action against Twitter. “The Government has taken cognizance of this issue and is enquiring about when the changes were made in the map,” sources added.

The distorted map appeared on Twitter website’s Career section under the heading “Tweep Life” section. The section on the career page has a world map. 

It showed a demarcation between the map of India and Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh were represented as separate countries. The company showed that there was a team of Twitter users all over the world.

The misrepresentation caused an uproar online amid the ongoing impasse between the Government and the microblogging platform. Many Twitter users shared screenshots and slammed Twitter’s gross misrepresentation of India’s map.

The distorted map was first noticed by user @thvaranam. The hashtag “Twitter Ban” in India became one of the top trends on it. In fact, a twitter user said Twitter is banned in China but still shows China occupied Ladakh as part of China. But doesn’t show Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh as part of India. Even big-tech crawls before China despite not being allowed.

Be like China. There is little to no value in being a liberal democracy.

Another user wrote that the Twitter website shows J&K as a separate country and Ladakh as part of China. Second time Twitter showed the wrong map of India. Alas! We all know Govt will again play notice with no concrete action against Twitter.

 One of twitterati said, ‘”Twitter again showing their left face showing the wrong map of India… are still waiting for an official apology from Twitter? Show them their place this time.”

Earlier in October 2020, Twitter had labelled the Indian territory of Leh in Ladakh as part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Government had issued a warning to CEO Jack Dorsey over the misrepresentation of the Indian map. The Government had said that such attempts not only bring disrepute to Twitter but also raises questions about its neutrality and fairness as an intermediary. Later, Twitter India issued an apology and removed the images and related tweets. In December last year, the Government warned Wikipedia for misrepresenting the country’s borders. Since it was a particular page, it issued Wikipedia an order to scrap it.

The US digital giant has been engaged in a tussle with the Indian Government over the new social media rules. Twitter had flagged “freedom of expression” concerns while responding to the new rules, which include appointing India-based compliance officers.

The Government has slammed Twitter for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country’s new IT rules, which has led to the microblogging platform losing its legal shield as an intermediary in India, and becoming liable for users posting any unlawful content.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology came out hard on Twitter last week and asked the social media platform to follow the law of the land instead of dilly-dallying. In response, the officials told the panel that “we follow our own policies,” which was strongly objected to by the committee members, who categorically told the Twitter India officials that the company is not above the law of the land.

On May 31, Twitter told the Delhi High Court that it was appointing Dharmendra Chatur, partner at a law firm that represented Twitter, as its interim grievance redressal officer. But he resigned weeks after his appointment.

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