Twitter India chief Manish Maheshwari has been given a new US-based role, a senior company executive announced on Friday, amid the company’s friction with the Indian government and more recently the opposition.
Mr Maheshwari had found himself targeted by the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh government amid a run-in with the party at the centre earlier this year, including being issued summons by the state police which were scrapped by a court last month.
“Thank you to @manishm for your leadership of our Indian business over the past 2+ years. Congrats on your new US-based role in charge of revenue strategy and operations for new markets worldwide. Excited to see you lead this important growth opportunity for Twitter,” Yu Sasamoto, the Vice President of Twitter’s Japan, South Korea and Asia Pacific division, tweeted.
Thank you to @manishm for your leadership of our Indian business over the past 2+ years. Congrats on your new US-based role in charge of revenue strategy and operations for new markets worldwide. Excited to see you lead this important growth opportunity for Twitter.
— yu-san (@yusasamoto) August 13, 2021
The move came some two months after Twitter had said it was worried about the safety of its staff in India, following police visits to its offices in Delhi and Gurgaon as part of a probe related to the firm’s tagging of some BJP leaders’ posts as manipulated.
“Right now, we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve,” Twitter had said in rare statement.
“We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service,” the statement added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration first took umbrage with the US firm in February when it refused to fully comply with an order to take down accounts and posts accused of spreading misinformation about farmers protests that have been the biggest display of dissent faced by the government. Twitter argued some requests were not in line with Indian law.
Following that showdown, India announced new rules that aim to make social media firms more accountable to legal requests for swift removal of posts. These rules led to an escalation of the standoff as Twitter missed the deadlines for the appointment of India-based executives.
Separately the Uttar Pradesh polices summoned Mr Maheshwari for questioning over tweets on the platform about the assault of a Muslim man in Ghaziabad in a move that was described as “malafide”, “harassment” and “arm-twisting” by the Karnataka High Court.
This week, Twitter found itself at odds with the opposition Congress party and its leader Rahul Gandhi, as they slammed the social network for blocking a tweet over the alleged rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl, saying the platform was playing partisan politics.