New Delhi: Twitter on Wednesday blocked some accounts in India over comments on large-scale farmers’ protests in New Delhi, but the social media company refused to shut down others despite the threat of criminal action by the government. done.
Indian officials last week demanded that Twitter stop blocking hundreds of users who have tweeted at protests against the proposed new agricultural laws, saying they pose a “grave threat to public order”. Are “.
Twitter initially complied with the blocking of several accounts – including the accounts of a popular news magazine and farmer groups – but blocked them several hours later, threatening “punitive action” by the government. ۔
One of the biggest challenges for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government since coming to power in 2014, farmers have been camping on the roads leading to the capital since late November.
International celebrities, including pop superstar Rehana and climate activist Greta Thunberg, justified the State Department’s response to the online protests, calling their comments sensational.
In a blog post, Twitter said it did not believe the steps we were instructed to take were in line with Indian law.
“In keeping with our principles of safe speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken action on accounts involving news media outlets, journalists, activists and politicians,” the San Francisco-based company said.
“We believe that doing so would violate their fundamental right to freedom of expression under Indian law.” But the firm said several accounts had already been “permanently suspended”, while others had been blocked “only within India”.
The Electronics and IT Ministry tweeted late Wednesday that it would respond soon, calling Twitter’s blog post “unusual” and saying it came ahead of a meeting requested by the company with the government. Had just come
The ministry later tweeted a link to its profile on rival Indian social network platform Koo. Some local personalities, including Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goel, have opened accounts.
Twitter’s response comes as tensions between Indian authorities and social media services escalate in the world’s largest democracy.
Members of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its supporters regularly mark their critics as traitors, propagandists and “enemies of the country”.
Senior BJP politicians, including the party’s national general secretary BL Santosh, tweeted on Wednesday that the platform “cannot be your own rule” and had to abide by Indian law.
Local media reported that New Delhi has accused Twitter of bias, saying its chief executive Jack Dorsey liked the tweets of celebrities supporting the farmers’ protest.