Under severe pressure from the government, Twitter has finally given up. According to the latest media report, the micro-blogging social platform has once again started blocking many accounts that the Indian government has flagged for “carrying inflammatory and divisive comments“.
After nearly a week of tug of war, Twitter has apparently realised the damages it could have by not complying with the government orders.
Overall 709 Twitter accounts are blocked, again, as reported by TOI. Of those, 126 accounts have tweeted with hashtag #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide. There are another 131 accounts under threat of getting blocked as the similar hashtags were tweeted from those accounts as well.
There are another 1,1179 accounts the government is suspecting to have links with Khalistani and Pakistani elements and wants Twitter to shut them down for now. However, instead of following the directive blindly, Twitter has deactivated 538 of such accounts and may penalise others soon.
Twitter’s decision to to restoring those suspended accounts has put the micro-social network in a direct conflict with the Indian government. On February 1, 2020 Indian government asked the network to suspend hundreds of accounts suspected of having links with unwelcome outfits. With few hours of Twitter blocking few accounts, including Caravan Magazine and Kisan Ekta Morcha, a huge uproar against such action pushed Twitter back on its decision.
On February 4, the Indian regulators had issued a separate notice, requesting it to remove over 1,000 accounts flagged by the country’s security agencies as those belonging to Khalistan and Pakistani sympathisers.
Criticism for actions on their respective parts having copped, the decision then by the San Francisco Company to unblock withheld accounts—which included Kisan Ekta Morcha and The Caravan magazine’s Twitter handles for constituting “free speech” and being “newsworthy” is what has ignited the Indian government’s ire.
The situation was tensed enough and the government was no mood to take it lightly. Ravi Prasad, Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, warned Twitter to face strict action under section 69A of the IT Act.
The Act allows the government to block any company from operating in India, besides arresting their officials and slapping hefty fine. The government exercised the same act while blocking 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, in the mid of last year.
After the initial resistance, Twitter has finally given up to the demand of the Indian government and once again started blocking those accounts that the government doesn’t want to be active anymore. The US-based micro-social network has also assured the government to look at the concerns and take the stock of the content being tweeted by all the Twitter accounts from India.