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Twitter introduces Tamil Topics, adding second Indian language to feature

Twitter introduces Tamil Topics, adding second Indian language to feature
20 Jul, 2022
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Twitter India has introduced Topics, its content-based post filter, in Tamil. This is the third language in which Topics has been introduced in India, after English and Hindi were added to the platform for Indian users in October 2020. The feature will allow users whose primary language is set to Tamil to follow topics of interest on the platform – such as a film personality, sports club or any area of study such as vaccination research – in their local language.

Twitter introduced Topics in November 2019, offering users the ability to follow specific topic-based tweets on personalities, areas of interests, news and others. A year later, the company introduced the feature in India, where as of January this year, it had 23.6 million total users.

India is Twitter's third largest market by user base, behind the US and Japan. However, the company continues to have a significantly smaller user base in comparison to the likes of Meta's Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as homegrown social media platforms such as ShareChat – which as of May 2022 had 180 million monthly active users (MAUs).

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Over the past years, Twitter has claimed that the platform hosts an increasing volume of tweets in India in local languages. In 2019, ex-Twitter India managing director, Manish Maheshwari, said in an interview that over 50% of all tweets made by Indian users were in local languages, as the company attempted to build a greater user base in the country.

However, the platform found itself amid a face-off against the Indian government since the introduction of the Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2021. While the initial conflict was regarding the appointment of nodal contact and grievance officers to comply with the newly instated rules, issues have since expanded to censorship of content and sharing of information with the central government.

On July 6, Twitter moved the Karnataka High Court alleging misuse of powers by government officials demanding takedown of content. The court filing came in response to a letter served to the company by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) in June, which urged Twitter to comply with its content takedown orders – or subsequently lose the safe harbour protections afforded to it under the laws of the land.

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While Meity reportedly threatened criminal proceedings against Twitter subject to non-compliance, Twitter said in the Karnataka HC that the government order was not in compliance with its own content policies, and also failed to serve an intimation to the authors of the respective content posted on its platform by users.