This is interesting.
Amid its ongoing tussle with Indian authorities, who have sought to limit certain discussions within the app, Twitter’s looking to highlight how beneficial it is to Indian users, seemingly as part of a larger effort to stop the Indian Government from banning the app.
In a new series of user stories (which you can view for yourself in the thread attached to the above tweet), Twitter India is looking to showcase the value that the app has provided to Indian users, in various ways.
As explained by Twitter:
“Over the years, we’ve seen many Twitter connections translate into heartwarming tales of friendship, companionship, marriage and business partnership. These stories are worth being told and some protagonists are themselves sharing their unique #WeMetOnTwitter experiences on the service – whether in Spaces, Communities, or Tweets – they are proudly proclaiming, ‘#WeMetOnTwitter’”
The #WeMetOnTwitter hashtag aims to connect these stories, with Twitter reporting that between January and June 2022, the number of Tweets using the tag increased by 380%, which it says is a testament to its value in the region.
As noted, Twitter is currently locked in an intense legal battle with Indian authorities over the Indian Government’s repeated requests for it to block certain discussions in the app.
Early last year, the Indian Government called on Twitter to ban hundreds of users that had engaged in protest action in the region, which Twitter complied with, then reneged on, pitting it against the local regime.
Since then, Twitter has been continually called upon by the Indian Government to ban different trends and discussion terms – which local Twitter representatives have struggled to manage, as they seek to both work within local laws and facilitate user free speech.
In the most recent example, the Indian Government called on Twitter to ban various Pakistani-linked profiles. Twitter has challenged those bans in court, putting it head-to-head with the Indian Government once again, which could ultimately result in Twitter being banned from the region entirely, cutting off some 38 million local users.
And we know that the Indian Government will do it. Despite having over 200 million local users at the time, India banned TikTok in 2020, due to an ongoing border dispute with the Chinese Government. TikTok continues to push for reinstatement in the region, but has remained banned ever since, which underlines the concern that Twitter would have in facing further action from the Indian Government.
But Twitter also doesn’t want to be used as a propaganda tool for controlling regimes.
Part of Twitter’s ethos revolves around its original ‘public town square’ approach to interaction, and enabling everyone to have a voice. Overt censorship, as dictated by the presiding government, can’t be part of this, which is why Twitter’s challenging the latest edicts in court – though again, that could see the platform lose favor with local administrators.
Which is why it’s now looking to highlight its value to the local community, and its capacity to connect local users.
Will that help in strengthening its case? Probably not, but it likely can’t hurt either way.