New Delhi: The Indian government’s strictness against Twitter is bearing fruit. Following strict government orders, social media platform Twitter has completely blocked 97 percent of its accounts.
These are the accounts that the IT Ministry had complained that they were all tweeting with inflammatory hashtags about the farmers’ protest. The government alleges that all these accounts have the support of sympathizers with Khalistan and Pakistan. Following this move by Twitter, it is likely to reduce its confrontation with the government.
The Times of India quoted sources as saying that the government had demanded the company to take action against a total of 1435 Twitter accounts, of which 1398 accounts have been blocked so far. In fact, this action by Twitter came after the meeting in which several officials including IT Secretary Ajay Prakash had a meeting with the top executives of Twitter and made it clear that the company must follow the laws of India. Only after this meeting, the US company Twitter has taken action against the users concerned.
Government sources said the company is working on the remaining Twitter accounts, including sending notices to users and other such steps. The government had given details of 1,178 accounts, keeping in mind the possible links related to Khalistan and Pakistan, which the company has blocked. Not only this, for the disputed hashtag, the government had also submitted a list of 257 handles, out of which 220 have been blocked.
Earlier, on Wednesday, the government had expressed ‘strong resentment’ over Twitter’s delay in taking prompt action against the account and hashtag spreading misinformation and inflammatory talk about the farmers’ movement. The Ministry of Information Technology made it clear that the company may have its own rules, but it must follow the laws of the country.
However, it has refused to ban the accounts of news bodies, journalists, activists and leaders, citing the need to keep freedom of expression intact. During a digital dialogue between the IT Secretary and senior Twitter officials, the government told this forum that as a business body operating in India, it must respect laws and democratic institutions and be involved in creating harmony and unrest in the country. Campaigns should take strong action.