The Indian government has warned Twitter that penal action would be taken if the company fails to comply with the government’s directive.
On Monday, the Indian government asked social media platform Twitter to remove around more than a thousand accounts for allegedly propagating misinformation and provocative content on the farmers protest. According to various media reports, the government listed 1,178 handles and stated that these handles suspected links to Pakistani and Khalistani users.
According to a report in the Indian newspaper Hindustan Times, in a statement, a Twitter spokesperson said: “We review every report we receive from the government as expeditiously as possible, and take appropriate action regarding such reports while making sure we hold firm to our fundamental values and commitment to protecting the public conversation. An update is shared through our established channels of communication with the government.” However, the spokesperson also said that the company respects local laws even while protecting its basic principle of free expression.
The statement also added that Twitter believes in “open and free exchange of information has a positive global impact and that the tweets must continue to flow.” The spokesperson told Hindustan Times that the company has reached out for a formal meeting with Minister for Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The government issued the directions under Section 69 (A) of the IT Act that lets the government take action against posts and accounts that may pose a threat to public order.
On January 31, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had ordered Twitter to block 257 handles and tweets for similar reasons. Twitter blocked these accounts and then a few hours later unilaterally unblocked them. The Indian government has warned Twitter that penal action would be taken if the company fails to comply with the government’s directive.
The government has also objected to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey liking several tweets by celebrities who posted in support of farmer protest.
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