Twitter restrictions and social security for gig economy workers
Good morning, Anmol here with the update this Tuesday. It was certainly a buzzy Monday yesterday with all the Clubhouse and Elon drama and the Union Budget speech and a little bit on the latter in the update as well. In other news today, Twitter took down several accounts in India without out much explanation so I'll give a quick summary on that too.
➡️ On Monday, Twitter restricted access to dozens of accounts in India following what they claim was a "legal demand", which led to a lot of outrage and questions on the platform yesterday. Amongst those who were restricted were the popular news outlet Caravan, and a couple of political commentators and politicians.
➡️ Interestingly Twitter didn't really tell the accounts or owners behind the accounts about what exactly the legal demand was behind the restrictions of their accounts- very different to how they would deal with a similar issue in the United States.
➡️ Unfortunately as advocacy group Internet Freedom Foundation explains- Indians don't actually have access to the legal orders on why their account was taken down because of the IT Blocking Rules and Section 69A, which is certainly not in the spirit of a free internet.
➡️ Manish (TC) says it best in this piece- "Unlike in the United States, Twitter has historically miserably failed to perform the tiniest level of content moderation in India. Most trending topics in India appear either manipulated, paid for, vile, abusive, useless, out-dated or dangerous — and sometimes, all." and it's honestly appalling how terrible Twitter does in most countries outside the US.
➡️ And late last night, Twitter restored access to the accounts but yet again issued no statement on the entire situation, which is quite puzzling.
➡️ The Indian Financial Minister Nirmala Sitharama proposed the annual budget yesterday which included a couple of topics that will probably be beneficial to the startup ecosystem as a whole.
➡️ The country has earmarked ~$200M to incentivize the adoption of digital payments, yet the market leaders still haven't figured out a way to actually make money on their core payments businesses. The budget also proposes extending social security benefits to gig economy workers.
➡️ Gig Economy has certainly taken India by storm over the last 5-7 years, so it's nice to see some regulations and standardizations come in. It seems like the gig workers will also be protected by minimum wages, but I'd love to see the the actual details of the policy and how it will be implemented.
➡️ The budget also touched upon providing some sort of tax relief on ESOPs (since they're currently taxable at the time of exercise), with the proposal "deferring the tax payment by five years or till they leave the company or when they sell their shares". It seems like the startup industry viewed the budget fairly positively but I didn't really come across any particular takes on the year's budget yet.
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