The Lawfare Podcast: India v. Platforms

By Jen Patja Howell
Thursday, June 3, 2021, 5:01 AM

Tensions between major social media platforms and the Indian government have reached a new high. In recent months, India has demanded that Twitter remove a range of content critical of the government and has even sent police to Twitter’s offices in New Delhi in what Twitter has called “intimidation tactics”. The government recently instituted new rules that exert strong control over how companies operating in India govern their platforms—rules that have already prompted a legal challenge from Whatsapp in Indian court.

On today’s episode of the Lawfare Podcast's Arbiters of Truth series on our online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Nikhil Pahwa to put these latest clashes between platforms and the Indian government in context. Nikhil is a technology journalist and digital rights activist and the founder of the Indian technology publication MediaNama—and he’s been watching this story closely. Whatever happens, this showdown in the world’s largest democracy will have lasting implications, not only within India but around the globe as well. It’s a geopolitical battle over who gets to assert sovereignty over the internet, and how.

Listeners who want more background on the subject of today’s episode might also be interested in this episode with Chinmayi Arun on the Indian government’s clashes with social media, from February 2021.