The government of India recently ordered Twitter to block 1,178 accounts for allegedly spreading misinformation about the protests of farmers and inflammatory material. Twitter on the response said it had removed a subset of the accounts today but only within India. The US social media giant said that it had not taken any action on media pages, writers, activists, and leaders. This is because it breached “the right to freedom of expression under Indian law”.
The government is asking Twitter to delete 1,178 accounts that it said are related to Pakistani and Khalistani users and since November had been spreading misinformation about the farmers’ protests outside Delhi. The company told the Department of Electronics and Information Technology today of its move.
Defence By Twitter:
“We have withheld a portion of the accounts identified in the blocking orders under our Country Withheld Content policy within India only. These accounts continue to be available outside of India”. Twitter posted recently.
“Because we do not believe that the actions we have been directed to take are consistent with Indian law, and, in keeping with our principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action on accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians. To do so, we believe, would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law”. The company said.
The popular social media platform said it operated to empower voices to be heard and to continue to make changes to its system. The actions are to make everyone feel comfortable engaging in the public discourse, regardless of their viewpoints or perspective.
“We will continue to advocate for the right of free expression on behalf of the people we serve and are actively exploring options under Indian law – both for Twitter and for the accounts that have been impacted. We remain committed to safeguarding the health of the conversation occurring on Twitter, and strongly believe that the Tweets should flow”. The company further added.
Under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, the social media giant said that it was issued with many different blocking instructions by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
“Two were emergency blocking orders that we temporarily complied with but subsequently restored access to the content in a manner that we believe was consistent with Indian law. After we communicated this to MeitY, we were served with a non-compliance notice.”
Twitter, defending its actions, said it took measures to decrease the exposure of hashtags containing harmful content. This will include removing them from Twitter trends and featuring them as recommended search words.
It also claimed that a variety of operations, including permanent suspension, were carried out against the escalation of more than 500 accounts throughout all government demands.