New Delhi: After facing severe backlash for showing a distorted map of India, Twitter on Monday (June 28) got rid of the controversial map that showed Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as two separate country. On late Monday night, the global map which earlier appeared under the ‘Career’ section of Twitter website under the header ‘Tweep Life’ was removed completely from the webpage. The glaring distortion had triggered a heavy backlash from netizens who are demanding strict action against the microblogging platform.
Twitter is yet to comment on revoking the global map from its website.
The furore comes amid a bitter stand-off between the Indian government and Twitter over compliance with new IT rules. After the distorted map came under public scrutiny and triggered a heavy censuring from netizens, demands of strict action against the microblogging platform were raised. This is not the first time that Twitter has misrepresented India’s map. Earlier, it had shown Leh as part of China.
The US digital giant has been engaged in a tussle with the Indian government over the new social media rules. The government has confronted Twitter for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country’s new IT rules, despite repeated reminders.
Notably, the microblogging platform has lost its legal shield as an intermediary in India, becoming liable for users posting any unlawful content. On Monday, social media users slammed Twitter’s gross misrepresentation of India’s map, that appears on its career section. The global map, showing Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh outside India, triggered angry responses from netizens who are demanding stringent action be initiated against the microblogging platform that has flouted rules on multiple occasions in the past.
In October last year, Twitter came under heavy criticism and faced backlash after its geotagging feature displayed ‘Jammu & Kashmir, People’s Republic of China’ in a live broadcast from Leh’s Hall of Fame, a war memorial for fallen soldiers in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
India has issued a stern warning to Twitter that time, making it clear that any disrespect of the country’s sovereignty and integrity is totally unacceptable. In November, government issued a notice to Twitter for showing Leh as part of Jammu and Kashmir instead of the Union Territory of Ladakh, as Centre lambasted the platform for disrespecting the territorial integrity of India by showing an incorrect map.
Twitter’s apparent heavyhandedness has come under government scrutiny when the microblogging platform did not fully complied with the new rules, called intermediary Guidelines, that mandate setting up a robust grievance redressal mechanism and appointing officers to coordinate with law enforcement.
The rules became effective from May 26; and Twitter, even after the expiry of the additional time, had not appointed the requisite officers, leading to it losing the ‘safe harbour’ immunity. Even in the backdrop of heightened strained relations with the Indian government, Twitter on Friday briefly blocked IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from accessing his account over alleged violation of US copyright law – a move that was immediately slammed by the minister as being arbitrary and in gross violation of IT rules.