Twitter Removes Islamophobic Hashtags over Coronavirus

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On June 22, the court had issued a notice asking the company to take action over offensive content after a PIL was filed seeking an order for removal of tweets, hashtags and trends being run online against Muslims

Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Twitter, the American free social networking website has told the Telangana High Court that it has removed hashtags spreading hate against Muslims and linking them with Coronavirus.

Lawyer Sajan Poovayya representing Twitter in the double bench of Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy said on Thursday that the company had removed hashtags and trends that were offensively spreading hatred against Muslims.

He said the online micro-blogging service needed two weeks’ time from the court to file a counter case, adding that it had already complied with the court order. The India section of the company had to get response from the head office in San Francisco in the United States where the company is headquartered.

On June 22, the court had issued a notice asking the company to take action over offensive content after a PIL was filed seeking an order for removal of tweets, hashtags and trends being run online against Muslims.

The PIL filed by lawyer Khaja Aijazuddin made an appeal to the court to direct Twitter to remove Islamophobic posts and hashtags that link Muslims with Coronavirus.

The PIL has appealed for removal of offensive hashtags- #CoronaJihad #Islamiccoronavirusjihad, and others.

The lawyer had urged the court to instruct the state governments to book social media that spread hate online.

In the initial months of the coronavirus-induced lockdown, India saw a renewed wave of Islamophobia fuelled by a vilification campaign systematically carried out by a large section of mainstream and social media against the Tablighi Jamaat after the organisation’s Nizamuddin Markaz in New Delhi emerged as one of the coronavirus clusters.

As a consequence of this widespread propaganda, ordinary Muslims had to face physical assaults, verbal abuses, arrests, open discrimination, and social ostracisation at the hands of rightwing activists as well as the police.

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