Twitter India Caravansinghtechcrunch: The Situation
Twitter announced on Wednesday that it had suspended over 500 accounts and reduced the visibility of some hashtags in India in response to threats from New Delhi to take legal action against Twitter executives. In one of its instructions to Twitter earlier this month, concern about the prevalence of false and threatening statements and provocative messages had been expressed. Twitter claimed that numerous accounts and hashtags promoted abuse, violence, and threats. These violated Twitter’s guidelines, hence the action. It’s unclear who was involved in the legal action that led Twitter India Caravansinghtechcrunch to suspend all Indian accounts. Twitter further asserted that the restrictions on the handles only apply within India and that the handles will still be accessible from other countries due to its belief that the legal system in India is in conflict with government directives. In addition, it claimed that no news journalist, organization, activist, or politician had their account terminated.
India is unable to access the accounts of many people, including the investigative journalism news agency Caravan, activist Hansraj Meena, Sanjukta Basu, and Shashi Shekhar Vempati, CEO of the Prasar Bharti , a broadcasting company owned by the state.
The two members of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi’s government (Preeti Sharma Menon and Jarnail Singh) are included in this estimate. Two other prime accounts associated with farmer demonstrations in India, Kisan Ekta Morcha and Tractor2Twitter, have also faced suspension.
An official government source later disclosed that the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology reportedly requested that Twitter remove approximately 250 tweets and accounts that used hashtags to publish what they deemed to be false, intimidating, and provocative content over the weekend, as reported by AFP journalist BhuvanBagga. Additionally, it has been claimed that “incitement to genocide is a significant threat to public order” and that “the Ministry of Electronics and IT” called for the shutdown of these Twitter accounts and Tweets citing Section 69A of the Information Technology Act.”
The Caravan is a news outlet that focuses on investigative journalism. Vinod Jose, Caravan’s executive editor, said the company was unaware Twitter wouldn’t be releasing the account. According to Section 70A and the IT Blocking Rules, intermediaries such as Twitter are not allowed to disclose any details regarding the blocking of a tweet or account. Oddly, Rule 16 of the IT Blocking Rules requires that these court decisions be kept secret, meaning that citizens cannot challenge the blocking of online content.
In the statement, a Twitter representative acknowledged that tweets and Twitter accounts are potentially subject to the laws of a number of different jurisdictions. They will try to serve all of their users but may occasionally need to limit access to some content in some countries in response to requests from legitimate authorities. Since transparency is essential for protecting the right to free expression, they have made it a policy to issue warnings before removing content.