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India Forces Twitter To Block Accounts As Per Demand, Tech Giant is Continuously Under Pressure From The Government

On Wednesday, India reproached Twitter for failing to meet its instructions and subtract some contents from its platform. India has warned the leading micro blogging platform that it should follow local guidelines, meanwhile, Indian political personality urged their supporters to move on to their home-grown rival Koo.

According to German database company Statista, the stakes are high for Twitter in India, where it had 17.5 million users as of last month. Prime Minister Modi, his Cabinet ministers and other politicians still use it ardently to communicate with the people.

After Twitter denied to follow some guidelines circulated by Indian Government, the home-grown Twitter-like social media platform Koo, which was launched last year, was joined by many Indian politicians and users.

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With almost 21,000 posts, followed by #BanTwitter, #kooapp was the top Twitter trend in India on Wednesday.

The government gave the first ultimatum when Twitter failed to cooperate with its order to block 257 accounts in the last week of January. The Indian Government ordered the blocking of accounts using the hashtag #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide. The micro-blogging platform had blocked the accounts initially, but later unblocked them, citing “free speech” and “newsworthy” content. Since they forwarded this to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Twitter was presented with a notice of non-compliance.

Twitter said “In keeping with our principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action on accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians”.

Twitter said on Wednesday that it was permanently re-suspending most of those accounts, and in some cases, preventing certain terms from appearing in the section on Trends. The company stated that Twitter handles are only blocked in India and will remain visible outside the country, because it feels that local law is inconsistent with Indian government orders. Twitter also mentioned that the accounts of any news organizations, journalists, activists or politicians have not been chosen for suspension.

India’s IT Ministry said on Wednesday, via a post at rival platform Koo, its top official had a “strong disgust” with Twitter behavior after a call with some of Twitter’s representatives.

The Government of  India said “Twitter is free to formulate its own rules and guidelines, but Indian laws which are enacted by the Parliament of India must be followed irrespective of Twitter’s own rules and guidelines.”

Twitter said, our global team delivered 24/7 coverage beginning on 26 January 2021 and took compliance action judiciously and impartially on content, trends, tweets, and accounts that breached the Twitter regulations.

Over the last 10 days, Twitter has been issued with multiple separate blocking orders by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India, under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, separate from the compliance under the Twitter Laws. In advance, the Government of India warned that they should be prepared to face prison and financial sanctions if they did not comply with the directions issued.

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