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Govt warns Twitter of action after platform reverses account suspensions

india | IST

Govt warns Twitter of action after platform reverses account suspensions

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Twitter is an intermediary bound by the directions of the government and it will face penal actions in case of non-compliance, the notice said.

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has issued a notice to Twitter, seeking compliance of its previous order to block accounts alleging farmer genocide. It has also warned the social media company of consequences like seven-year jail term and fine if the accounts are not taken down again.

Twitter is an intermediary bound by the directions of the government, and it will face penal actions in case of non-compliance, the notice said.

Twitter blocked accounts associated with farmers protest mongering against Indian government on Monday. Some 250 accounts and tweets were blacked out following the objections raised by the government. Under 61A of the IT code, the government had directed Twitter to block the accounts or face penal actions. Many blocked accounts were using the hashtag “Modi planning farmer genocide,” following the violence in Delhi on Republic Day.

The content posted online with inflammatory hashtag inflamed passions, hatred and stirred tensions in the society, and was factually incorrect, the government had said.

However, the social media firm unblocked the accounts late on Monday after its action drew widespread condemnation online. According to reports, Twitter executives met with Indian government officials to say that tweets constituted free speech and are newsworthy.
However, the government said, "Incitement to genocide is not freedom of speech but a threat to law and order." It also highlighted more than half a dozen of Supreme Court judgements, defining public order and highlighting the rights of authorities. The government added that Twitter cannot assume the role of the court and justify non-compliance of legal directives.

Twitter cannot sit in judgment of rationality and proportionality of Govt directions and adjudicate constitutionality, the notice said.

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