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Twitter blocks over 80 posts and accounts in India after Union govt orders

Twitter India has blocked over 80 links, including tweets and some accounts, after receiving legal notices from the central government sent through 2021

Topics
Twitter | Freedom of speech | indian government

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Twitter
Twitter took down five tweets by American non-profit Freedom House, which posted its 2020 report on Freedom on The Net and said India had the most internet shutdowns.Photo: Shutterstock

India has blocked over 80 links, including tweets and some accounts, after receiving legal notices from the central government sent through 2021. These include accounts belonging to the Pakistani government. Others also have content related to farmers' protests and a report from an American non-profit that said India's was declining.

These accounts, notified by the Centre, were geo-blocked by over the weekend, an action the giant classifies as "Country Withheld". Geo-block means restricting access to accounts or posts in a particular geography. The accounts or posts are not entirely removed from the site and can be accessed by those outside India.

restricted accounts include Kisan Ekta Morcha and Tractor2Twitter, which were active during the nationwide farmers' protests and had more than 500,000 followers. Last year, Kisan Ekta Morcha posted a hashtag on Twitter that accused the Centre of plotting to kill protesting farmers.

Also Read: India single largest source of govt requests for account info: Twitter

The giant also took down five tweets by American non-profit Freedom House, which posted its 2020 report on Freedom on The Net and said India had the most internet shutdowns.

Twitter India also banned official accounts of Embassies in UN, Turkey, Iran and Egypt and the nation's public broadcaster, Radio .

The move came after the central government had sent 24 legal notices to Twitter through 2021. Twitter disclosed this to the Lumen database, which is an internet transparency archive.

Reacting to the move, the Kisan Ekta Morcha on Instagram said, "Another attack by the Government of India on the rights of farmers and workers."

A farmer union leader, Bharatiya Kisan Union, Ravi Azad, said, "The government has banned Kisan Ekta Morcha's Twitter handle that takes the voice of farmers to the global level. Anti-farmer activities are revealed through this account with facts and evidence. We condemn this action."

In a statement on Twitter, the Foundation said, "Citizens have the right to challenge blocking of online content, but they are unable to do so without access to these orders. Thus, we have consistently advocated for such disclosures as they are crucial for holding the government accountable."

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First Published: Tue, June 28 2022. 14:45 IST
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