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After uproar, Twitter drops map showing J&K, Ladakh outside India

The map was available as part of a larger creative image depicting the world map on the company’s website under the careers sections on the page titled Tweep Life.
Twitter’s latest brush with controversy comes even as it is engaged in an escalating battle with the government over the new social media and intermediary guidelines.(File Photo)
Updated on Jun 29, 2021 02:11 AM IST
ByDeeksha Bhardwaj, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The ministry of electronics and information technology is looking into the issue of Twitter showing Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh as not part of India in a map on its website, an official familiar with the matter said on Monday. The misrepresentation caused an uproar online amid the ongoing impasse between the government and the microblogging firm.

The map was available as part of a larger creative image depicting the world map on the company’s website under the careers sections on the page titled Tweep Life. While it showed the disputed Aksai Chin area of Ladakh, illegally occupied by China, as part of that country, it depicted the Union Territory of J&K as a separate country. The map was subsequently taken down.

In the past, the government has sent a notice under section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act to Wikipedia for using the image of a wrong map; the section allows the government to order the takedown of content that violates the “integrity and sovereignty” of the country.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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This is the second time that Twitter has run into trouble over a map in the past year. In October last year, the Centre had served Twitter with a notice over the geotag for Leh showing it as a part of China. Writing to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the Centre on October 22 conveyed its “disappointment regarding the misrepresentation of the map of India”. It also asked Twitter to explain why action should not be taken against it . Twitter subsequently corrected this.

In Wikipedia’s case, the image was subsequently fixed.

To be sure, many international maps include Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, a part of J&K, as Pakistan, and New Delhi points out in every instance that this is inaccurate.

Twitter’s latest brush with controversy comes even as it is engaged in an escalating battle with the government over the new social media and intermediary guidelines. The ministry has asserted that the social media firm has failed to comply with the guidelines, which can result in it losing the safe harbour protection granted to intermediaries under the IT Act.

There have been several instances of confrontation between the social media company and the government over orders to block access to content and marking of posts by BJP leaders as manipulated media. The social media firm also invited the ire of Prasad, who was locked out his account for an hour over an alleged copyright violation last week.

Twitter’s grievance redressal officer Dharmendra Chatur , appointed weeks ago, stepped down over the weekend, prompting the firm to hire a new official. And the Ghaziabad police have said in a complaint that Twitter circulated a video that allegedly misrepresented an attack on an elderly Muslim man as a communal one. The police asked Twitter India executive Manish Maheshwari to appear for questioning in person, but has been prevented from arresting him by the Karnataka High Court. His lawyer said last week that he would appear over video conference.

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