Twitter has now started to restore the restricted accounts. The company says that it is in the process of restoring all accounts, and took this measure after the Indian government advised it to block 250 accounts to “prevent an escalation of violence”.
Popular social media platform Twitter has blocked multiple Indian accounts on Monday amid farmer protests in the country, in response to an unspecified ‘legal demand.’ This move has sparked outrage among its large user base who have moved to demand Twitter an explanation for its actions.
Users took to Twitter to demand an explanation and lodge a protest against the accounts withheld for an unspecified ‘legal request.’ Several accounts, including those linked with the ongoing farmers’ protest against the new farm laws, are included in this list. Other featuring names are ‘The Caravan’, a news outlet conducting investigative journalism, Kisan Ekta Morcha and Tractor2Twitr (two accounts linked with the framers’ protests), activist Hansraj Meena, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Jarnail Singh, spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon, CPI(M) leader Md Salim, actor Sushant Singh, and journalist Sanjukta Basu. Several other individuals and organizational accounts have been withheld.
The ‘legal demand’ that started all this is currently unknown. It is also unclear as to who has made the legal demand that prompted Twitter to make such a move. Officials of the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) have revealed that they have asked Twitter to block around 20 accounts and tweets that were tweeting using a specific hashtag – the #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag – as well as accounts to make and post what was alleged to be fake, intimidatory and provocative Tweets on Saturday, January 30.
It is reported that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs directed MeitY to act accordingly in the light of the increasing agitation on social media regarding the farmers’ protests. MeitY is reported to have ordered the blocking of the Twitter accounts and tweets under Section 69A of the Information Protection Act, to protect public order and in the long run, the integrity of the country.
A Twitter spokesperson said in a statement, “If we receive a properly scoped message from an authorized entity, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in a particular country from time to time.”
This move by Twitter comes after the violence in Delhi on Republic Day, January 26, during a tractor parade of farmers protesting against the new farm laws. The violence resulted in one casualty and over a hundred others injured.