After notice Twitter removes "offensive" content on COVID-19, police tells HC

The Telangana police has informed the high court that micro-blogging platform Twitter has informed the department that it has removed some "offensive" contents linking the COVID-19 pandemic to a particular community from its site and is investigating the matter after a PIL was filed.
On June 22, the court had issued notices to Twitter, the Centre and the state government based on a PIL petition filed by an advocate Khaja Aijazuddin. The plea sought a direction to Twitter to remove the alleged trending of hashtags or Islamophobic posts which he said were in many ways attaching the pandemic with the religion by some users on the platform which is offensive in nature and hurting the feelings of a particular community. The petitioner had alleged that the hashtags #Islamiccoronavirusjihad, #Coronajihad,#Tablighijamat, among others, were allegedly trending in the social media and sought a direction to remove the tweets or messages.

A counter affidavit filed by Telangana Police on Thursday said even before the complaint from the petitioner, police took proactive action and had sent notices to Twitter for removal of contents which are "offensive" in nature and hurting the feelings of a particular community. Following this, "such" contents were removed by the social media giant. The police further submitted that hashtags mentioned by the petitioner as "trending" were not found under the head "trending." Responding to the notice, Twitter communicated to the Cyber Crime wing of Hyderabad Police that the reported contents were removed for violating its terms of service. It said the sitealso received a request for account information regarding some Twitter accounts and isinvestigating the matter. The petitioner has also requested the court to direct the state government to register criminal cases against Twitter and users who were allegedly spreading such messages.

On Friday, a division bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, again directed the Centre and Twitter to file their counter affidavits within three weeks and posted the matter for August 20
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