Jack Dorsey saga: How Elon Musk learnt fast to respect strict Indian laws

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS): As former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey created a storm by claiming that the Indian government threatened to shut down the platform and conducted raids on its employees -- which the Centre has vehemently rejected, Elon Musk has rather understood the law of the land much better.

In April, Musk said that he would comply with the law of the land in India rather than send his people to jail as the country has "strict social media laws".

In a Twitter Spaces interview with the BBC, he was asked about the micro-blogging platform taking down links related to the BBC's controversial documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"India has very strict social media laws. If it's a choice between complying with the laws or going to jail, I'd rather comply with laws than have any of my people go to jail," he was quoted as saying.

"We cannot go beyond the law of the country," the Twitter CEO stressed.

The first part of the two-part BBC documentary series, "India: The Modi Question" raised a storm not just in India but also among the diaspora across the world.

Looking at the sensitive nature of the documentary, the Indian government banned it from being shown on social media, including Twitter, and elsewhere in the country.

Earlier in the day, the Centre lashed out at Dorsey for his claims, saying it is an attempt to "brush out that very dubious period of Twitter's history".

Reacting to Dorsey who alleged in an interview with YouTube channel Breaking Points that the threats came as Twitter refused to comply with the government's demands to block accounts during the farmers' protests in early 2021, Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said that no one went to jail nor was Twitter shut down in the country.

"This is an outright lie by @jack -- perhaps an attempt to brush out that very dubious period of Twitter's history. Twitter under Dorsey and his team were in repeated and continuous violations of the India law," Chandrasekhar said in a tweet.

The Minister said that as a matter of fact, Twitter was in non-compliance with law repeatedly from 2020 to 2022 "and it was only June 2022 when they finally complied".

"To set the record straight, no one was raided or sent to jail. Our focus was only on ensuring the compliance of Indian laws. Dorsey's Twitter regime had a problem accepting the sovereignty of Indian law. It behaved as if the laws of India did not apply to it," Chandrasekhar noted.

"All social media intermediaries operating in India have to comply with laws to ensure that the internet is safe, trusted and accountable," said the Minister.