Twitter announced that it has taken action against more than 500 accounts and had restricted the visibility of selected hashtags in India in response to threats from New Delhi to sue Twitter officials.
With the hashtag #modiplanningfarmersgenocide, many people have written about New Delhi’s agricultural policy on social media. According to the company, a number of accounts and hashtags violated Twitter’s policies, especially those that encouraged abuse, violence, and threats that could cause harm to others in the real world.
Hashtags that were merely used to support farmers or their protests are not subject to any limitations. The action was taken because these broke Twitter’s rules. Who brought the legal action that prompted Twitter India Caravansinghtechcrunch to suspend all Indian accounts is unknown.
Twitter claimed that the bans on the handles only apply inside of India and that users outside of India will still be able to access the handles because it thinks the Indian legal system is in disagreement with governmental guidelines. Additionally, it stated that no news organisation, activist, politician, or news journalist had their account cancelled.
Other well-known Twitter accounts that have been suspended, in addition to Twitter India CaravansinghTechcrunch, include political analyst Sanjukta Basu, activist Hansraj Meena, and actor Sushant Singh. Additionally, they have deleted the accounts of Preeti Sharma Menon, Jarnail Singh, and Shashi Shekhar Vempati, the Aam Aadmi Party’s Preeti Sharma Menon, CEO of the state-owned television corporation Prasar Bharti.
The prominent Indian accounts Kisan Ekta Morcha and Tractor2Twitter, both of which are connected to the recent farmer demonstrations, have also been disabled. Anyone outside of India has access to the accounts. In the case of the political journalist Basu, Twitter informed him that it was in contact with the authorities after Indian authorities submitted a legal notice against a few accounts using his name.
The theory behind the suspension of Accounts:
People and the account owners have their own theories about who and what may have caused the account suspensions, even though there was never a formal report that identified those involved in the legal procedure that led Twitter India Caravansinghtechcrunch to close down accounts from India.
Order of Government to Twitter:
According to a government source cited by AFP writer Bhuvan Bagga, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology ordered Twitter to delete some 250 tweets and accounts that they claimed were publishing false, threatening, and provocative messages over the weekend.
A source familiar with the situation confirmed the information to Twitter India caravansinghTechCrunch, adding that “incitement to genocide is a grave threat to public order and consequently, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY) ordered that these Twitter accounts and Tweets be blocked under Information Technology Act Section 69A.”
Statements from Twitter:
In the statement, a Twitter official said that numerous jurisdictions have laws that may be relevant to the content of tweets or Twitter accounts. While aiming to offer our services to all of their users, companies may occasionally need to restrict access to specific content in a particular country in response to a valid request from an authorised party or other entity. They have a policy of notifying users before removing content because transparency is essential for protecting the right to free speech.
Why aren’t we talking about this? The singer Rihanna tweeted in response to a CNN news article on the farmers’ protests. Rihanna has more Twitter followers than any Indian politician or star. The Indian government says that the new regulations will help farmers and consumers by streamlining the agricultural supply chain. The national capital’s surrounding areas had protests last month, and New Delhi also experienced a brief suspension of internet service.
Vinod Jose, the executive editor of Caravan, alleged that Twitter failed to inform the company that it would not be making the account public. According to Section 70A and the IT Blocking Rules, intermediaries like Twitter are not permitted to reveal any information regarding the blocking of a tweet or account. It is an odd situation caused by the requirement for confidentiality in Rule 16 of the IT Blocking Rules because citizens are unable to challenge the restriction of online content since they do not have access to these court decisions.
The action taken today comes at a time when numerous Indian journalists are accused of sedition for their social media posts and reportage about a farmer’s protest that took place last week. Rajdeep Sardesai, a well-known news anchor, and Vinod Jose, executive editor of Caravan, are two journalists who are dealing with these situations.
Twitter in India:
About 75 million people use Twitter in India, but the company has long been criticised for how it manages business there. In contrast to the United States, Twitter has always abjectly failed to carry out even the most minimal degree of content filtering in India. The majority of hot subjects in India seem to be either fake or paid for, obscene, violent, pointless, outdated, dangerous—and occasionally, all of the above.