Government of India has asked Twitter to block multiple accounts relating to farmers protest for misleading and provocative tweets. Twitter had initially withheld some accounts, however, in a meeting with the government officials, Twitter has conveyed that the accounts and tweets in question constitute free speech and are newsworthy and restored them.
Twitter said it has withheld some of the accounts flagged by the Indian government for blocking “within India only”, these accounts continue to be available outside of India. It has not blocked handles of civil society activists, politicians and media as it would violate their fundamental right to free expression guaranteed under country’s law.
The government has ordered Twitter to block 1,178 accounts with links to Pakistan and Khalistan supporters which were spreading misinformation and provocative content on farmers’ protest.
Twitter, in a blogpost, said it had taken steps to reduce visibility of the hashtags containing harmful content and that it has taken a range of enforcement actions against more than 500 accounts escalated across all MeitY orders.
The government had also warned Twitter of penal action in case of failure to comply with its directive and had cited sections that provide for fine and jail for up to 7 years. Twitter said that it is seeking formal dialogue with the Information Technology Minister.