‘India biz at risk’: In US suit, Musk raises Twitter’s tiff over MeitY orders

Twitter’s high-stakes legal battle against some of India’s government content blocking orders has been brought up in a different high-profile case – the platform’s lawsuit in the United States against Tesla CEO Elon Musk for withdrawing his $44 billion bid to buy the social media company. Musk accused Twitter of hiding his lawsuit in India from him and that its actions could put its business in the country at risk.

In his counterclaims against Twitter’s suit, Musk said the company’s decision to challenge the blocking orders by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) was a “departure from the normal course” since it had previously blocked “pro-Ukrainian accounts of the Russian government.”

Musk said that while he supports free speech, Twitter must follow the laws of the countries in which it operates. He added that the social media platform had not informed him of its lawsuit against the Indian government, which puts the company’s third largest market “in jeopardy”.

In response, Twitter said its actions in India are in line with “universal practice” to challenge government requests or laws if it believes such requests are “not properly scoped by local law, procedurally flawed, or as necessary.” Defend the rights of its users, including freedom of expression. The company filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in the Karnataka High Court last month challenging just a few of the more than 1,400 prohibition orders it has received.

“If (Twitter) receives a valid and appropriately scoped request from an authorized body, it may block access to certain content in the specific jurisdiction that has issued a valid legal request or where the content has been found to violate local laws, but that it routinely pushes for restrictions on or otherwise challenge or object to government or laws requests when such requests are unauthorized or properly scoped by local law, procedurally flawed, or when necessary to defend the rights of its users,” the company said in response. to Musk’s counterclaims.

These requests were filed by Twitter in a Delaware District Court, where it sued Musk for wanting to end the purchase of the company. Last month, Musk said he wanted to end the $44 billion purchase of Twitter — agreed in April — because the company was in “material breach” of their agreement and made “false and misleading” statements during negotiations.

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The Tesla CEO also said he was pulling out because Twitter fired its chief executives and a third of its talent acquisition team, violating a commitment to “keep the physical components of the existing business organization substantially intact.”

In its lawsuit against the government’s blocking orders, Twitter told Karnataka HC that MeitY is “increasingly” ordering to ban entire accounts without informing the company of the specific tweets issued by those accounts calling for their ban. Many URLs contain political and journalistic content. The petition stated that blocking such information is a flagrant violation of the freedom of expression guaranteed to citizens using the platform.”

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