An interesting scenario is currently playing out in India. There is a stalemate between social media companies and the government of India following a directive on the change of social media laws affect platforms with over 5M registered users. The deadline given by the Indian government is already past (May 25, 2021), and now #BanTwitterIndia is trending, ironically, on Twitter. The population was divided, with some on the government’s side, while some supported Twitter.
On the one hand, the government is citing security and the nation’s safety, and its people as the motivation behind its new directives. It requested the platform to delete posts that were allegedly detrimental to the country. On the other hand, Twitter is reluctant to comply with the demands as it believes it will hurt public discourse over the platform.
The issue here may take some time to be resolved; however, a more severe problem is unraveling the technological eye.
The faux beginning
The standoff between Twitter and the Indian government started around February, following the new directives issued concerning India’s administration of social media platforms. The platforms were directed to create local compliance offices where grievances could be aired and solved directly by these offices. Platforms like Facebook and Koo, a homegrown, Twitter-like platform, started implementing some of the new directives; however, Twitter was not comfortable with the government’s mandate.
As the May 25 deadline approached, speculations on banning social media platforms in India were rife. Twitter was still adamant that it would not fully comply with the new directives. At the same time, the government insisted that failure to comply would lead to revoking vital services that would essentially translate to some form of ban.
As per The Economic Times, Twitter is now willing “to comply with applicable laws in India.”
Signs of the times
The new laws governing social media companies are not a surprise. Following the Cambridge Analytica incidence and cries for content regulation, it was only a matter of time before laws were enacted requiring these platforms to implement them. The EU privacy calls should have been a wake-up call to social media companies that their regulation was imminent.
Now, there are speculations that other countries may emulate India by implementing their own set of guidelines to dictate the operation of social media companies in their respective countries.
The true origin of the Twitter/India conflict
At first, it may not be clear, but the true beginning of the spat between India and Twitter is centralization. Most platforms in use today are centralized platforms, which are convenient for lawmakers and third parties. The existence of a pivotal body that can accept blame or make decisions on behalf of many creates an unfair dynamic for the many users who may be misrepresented.
For instance, Twitter executives in India were threatened with jail time if they continued operations without accepting the new laws. This may have probably contributed to their last-minute compliance.
The government’s insistence on creating local compliance offices by social media platforms confirms the interference that can quickly arise from centralization. With the office in place, the Indian government can influence social media platforms.
Decentralization is the only way
A straightforward solution exists that can potentially solve the spat and satisfy both parties ArGo. The platform offers decentralized solutions that are essential if future altercations are to be avoided. ArGo can create transparency through blockchain technology that essentially negates the need for a compliance officer and still keeps public discourse alive in decentralized platforms.
For instance, ArGo provides a cloud storage solution that ensures 100% uptime and is censorship-proof. By social media platforms storing their data on ArGo, they are assured of 100% uptime regardless of the legal battles they may be undertaking.
Blockchain then comes into play with immutability. Part of what the Indian government required knew the origin of specific posts and posting these posts down by Twitter. Blockchain provides immutability of data uploaded to the network, making it easier for the government to identify who uploaded the work. On deletion, blockchain upholds an individual’s freedom to communicate by keeping the public information record over its immutable decentralized ledger.
Further, because of decentralization, no third party can interfere with the operations or proceedings of the platform. Decentralization gives governing power to the entire community of a platform, for example, concerning India Vs. Twitter, the government would not have the ability to hurt millions of Twitter community members because of the actions of less than 1% of the entire community. No central authority means it becomes harder to censor platforms to squeeze out the desired outcome.
With no centralization, it also means that Twitter would not decide to comply with or go against the rules set by the government, which would be the responsibility of the entire community.
As long as the world continues to operate using centralized platforms, such spats will likely come up from time to time. By embracing decentralization, people can decide on the content they intend to see on social media platforms without the interference of third parties.
What ArGo does
ArGo makes front-end web deployment easy, effective, and efficient through its blockchain-based platform that takes your web app to the DNS (Decentralized Storage Networks). ArGo removes the hurdles of centralization and censorship through blockchain, ensuring that your web app is permanently deployed and experiences 100% uptime throughout its life.
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