Delhi, Feb 1: Several Twitter accounts, including those belonging to Kisan Ekta Morcha and the Caravan, are now blocked in India, and apparently, after the Indian government sent a legal notice to Twitter. The accounts that have been blocked by Twitter in India include Kisan Ekta Morcha, The Caravan India, Manik Goyal, Tractor2twitr, and jatt_junction.
It seems Twitter has received a legal notice to block several Twitter accounts belonging to farmers’ organizations, activists, and media groups that were tweeting on framers’ protests against the farm bill.
Government officials said that Twitter has been asked to block over 250 accounts or tweets that were tweeting using a specific hashtag. The MEITY (IT Ministry) has blocked around 250 Tweets or Twitter accounts that were using the #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag and making fake, intimidating, and provocative Tweets on Saturday that was January 30, officials said.
This has been done at the request of the Ministry of Home Affairs and law enforcement agencies to prevent any escalation of law and order given the on-going farmer agitation, added officials.
However, it is worth noting that among the blocked accounts, some were not using that specific hashtag.
For now, it is not clear which specific accounts have been blocked. Twitter users are still discovering that several accounts that were tweeting information related to farmers’ protest are now showing a blocked in India message.
Given that Twitter uses regional blocking of accounts, the message being shown is: “Account Withheld @thecaravanindia’s account has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand.”
Similar messages are appearing on other accounts that have been withholding in India.
Currently, from the chatter on Twitter, it seems that the following accounts are not available in India: @imMAK02s, @thecaravanindia, @Kisanektamorcha, @manavijyan, @derasachasauda, @Bkuektaugrahan, @tractor2twitr, @aartic02, @sushant_says, @salimdotcomrade, @sanjukta, @HansrajMeena, @EpicRoflDon, @shashidigital. The last on this list Shashi Digital belongs to the CEO of Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar. It seems that his accounts could have been blocked in error and that the legal notice probably was targeting Shashi Tharoor, a Congress politician.
The blocking of Twitter accounts comes days after the MHA ordered blocking on the internet in and around the sites where farmers are protesting on the Delhi border.
On its global website, Twitter explains that instead of blocking accounts, it usually withholds them in a particular country when it gets legal notice.
The company notes, “In our continuing effort to make our services available to people everywhere, if we receive a valid and properly scoped request from an authorized entity, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in a particular country from time to time. Such withholdings will be limited to the specific jurisdiction that has issued the valid legal demand or where the content has been found to violate local law(s).”