Twitter suspends over 500 accounts following Govt directive, no action on politician, activist and journalist accounts

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Updated: February 10, 2021 12:28 PM

Twitter maintained that it will actively work towards reducing the visibility of the hashtags that may contain harmful content and will take steps to prohibit them from trending on the site

farmer's protect, meity, twitter, ministry of information directive to twitter to take down account, twitter suspends 500 accounts, twitter reacts to government directive, Twitter on farmer's protest, twitter on freedom to speech, twitter policiesThe Government asking Twitter to comply with its directives said that these accounts are being operated by foreign territories

Twitter has permanently suspended more than 500 accounts for violating its rules and withheld “a portion” of accounts flagged by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) for allegedly spreading misinformation on farmers’ protest. The latter falls under Twitter’s ‘Country Withheld Content’ policy and applies within India only which means, withheld accounts will continue to be available outside of India.

Accounts of civil society activists, politicians and media have not been withheld though. The platform further reasoned that this would “violate their fundamental right to free expression” guaranteed by the country’s law.

Twitter further said in a blog post that it does not believe that the actions they were directed to take are ‘consistent with Indian law’ and they will continue to advocate for the right of free expression for its users. The Indian government recently asked Twitter to block 1,178 accounts for allegedly spreading misinformation on farmers’ protest.

Twitter maintained that it will actively work towards reducing the visibility of the hashtags that may contain harmful content and will take steps to prohibit them from trending on the site or appearing as recommended Search terms.

The Government asking Twitter to comply with its directives said that these accounts are being operated by foreign territories and are spreading misinformation and provocative content against the farmers’ agitation, causing a threat to public law and order. The ministry had handed over a list of 257 URLs and one hashtag which needed to be blocked under the relevant legal section and also warned of penal actions for non-compliance previously.

Twitter blocked such accounts before unblocking them a few hours later. The site has informed the MeitY that it has taken a range of enforcement actions against more than 500 accounts, flagged across all orders, including permanent suspension in certain cases for violation of Twitter rules.

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