RTI Response from MEITY over Twitter’s Manipulated Media Tag

Earlier in May, there were a series of tweets posted by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra that the Congress Party had developed a tool kit to be used on social media to target the government in its handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic. There was a complaint filed by the Congress party against this. This tweet alleging the toolkit was tagged by Twitter as Manipulated media under its policy on Synthetic and Manipulated Media.

There was a huge uproar over this on social media. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology sent a letter to Twitter Inc expressing dissatisfaction over the Manipulated Media tag. There was also a notice issued to Twitter and Delhi Police was investigating the matter.


Under these circumstances, SFLC.in filed a RTI application under the Right to Information, Act on 22.05.2021 requesting for the following information –


  1. Information as to the content of the letter sent by MEITY to Twitter for removing the tag of ‘Manipulated media’ on some tweets.

  2. Copy of the letter dated 21st May 2021

  3. Grounds under which the removal of ‘Manipulated Media’ was sought.

  4. Any other communication between MEITY and Twitter Inc




We received a response to our RTI application on 17.06.2021. The response we received is attached verbatim.






The Letter dated 21.05.2021 stated that –


  1. A complaint has already been lodged by a party and there is an ongoing investigation on the said ‘Toolkit’. Keeping that in mind Twitter without awaiting the result of the investigation has unilaterally labelled the tweet as ‘manipulated’ which is prejudiced, prejudged and an attempt to colour the investigation.

  2. The tag seeks to investigate and over reach in a fair investigation process.

  3. The tag dilutes the credibility of twitter as a neutral and unbiased platform along with moderating the views of the users.

  4. It also questions the status of twitter as an intermediary.

  5. The tag will also demotivate the frontline workers.

  6. Twitter is asked to remove the tag in the interests of fairness and equity.


The letter dated 25.05.2021 in response to Twitter’s letter stated that –


  1. The Synthetic and Manipulated media policy by Twitter needs a revisit.

  2. The tweet is already a subject of an ongoing criminal investigation which attracts provisions from the Indian Penal Code.

  3. The principles of Natural Justice especially Audi Alteram Partem need to be applied. The other side needs to be given a fair hearing before reaching a judgement.

  4. Twitter is also urged to give hearings to those whose tweets have been labelled and till that mechanism be brought into picture, labelling of tweets needs to be in abeyance.

  5. Views of Twitter will color the ongoing investigation in the matter.

  6. The process of tagging tweets with ‘manipulated media’ be put on hold atleast till investigation is finished.


Related Posts