On Monday, a team of officers from the Special Cell, an elite police department investigating terrorism and organized crime in New Delhi, went down to Twitter offices in the city to “send a message” to the Twitter chief in India. Attempt to enter and the police office on Twitter in Gurugram, a place that was permanently closed, a Twitter spokesman told BuzzFeed News.
The move came three days after Twitter posted “manipulated media” tweets of half a dozen members of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party, in which they accused the Indian National Congress, the main opposition party, of intending to harm Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for handling the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India.
In a picture circulated by members, they argued that the Indian National Congress, in particular, provides special medical services to journalists affected by the pandemic. AltNews, an Indian fact-checking website, found that the image is fake. (Congress also filed a complaint with the police against Sambit Patra, a BJP spokesman who initially shared the image.) On Friday, India’s IT ministry sent a letter companies asking to remove labels. Twitter didn’t.
A Twitter spokesman declined to comment.
Many Delhi police officers did not respond to requests for comment. But law enforcement sources told BuzzFeed News that they approached the Twitter office to send a message to Twitter as part of a “routine process,” after receiving “ambiguous responses” from the CEO of Twitter India. Manish Maheshwari.
In police footage videos seen by BuzzFeed News, officials approach an administrator in the lobby of a New Delhi building that houses India’s Twitter headquarters and ask security guards where the office is located. It is unclear whether the police entered the office.
For months, Twitter has been killing companies of the Indian government. In February, the company abandoned censorship tweets belonging to journalists, activists and politicians in the country despite the order of the Government of India to do so and despite this threats from the IT Department to the prison of Twitter officials for not pulling the government line.
In late February the government of India disclosed new rules to take more power over social media companies. On Friday, he issued an order asking platforms to remove content citing the “Indian version” of the coronavirus, according to to Reuters.