Twitter is hitting a challenging note on its own fight with India to restrict accounts in the country. On Monday, the company released its first official response since the Indian government asked it to block more than 250 accounts it had restored in defiance of an order from the IT ministry. Among the blocked accounts were Caravan, a news magazine, and people who had criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We firmly believe that the open and free exchange of information has a positive global impact, and that Tweets should continue to flow,” the company said in a statement shared with BuzzFeed News.
Twitter’s statement comes amid a clash with India’s increasingly authoritarian government as millions of farmers protest agricultural reforms, rocking the nation.
Monday, reported in the Indian press he said the government had asked the company to block nearly 1,200 additional accounts which, they said, were being tweeted about the protests and which were being managed by Pakistan. A report in the Times of India he also quoted an anonymous government official as saying that India was unhappy with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for liking the tweets supporting the protests. A Twitter spokesman declined to comment.
On January 31, India’s IT ministry had ordered Twitter prevents more than 250 accounts belonging to activists, political commentators, and the Caravan were to be seen in the country. Twitter initially complied but changed course six hours later. In response, the government of India blue the site to once again block accounts and has threatened Twitter officials in India with legal consequences for violating the order, including a fine and up to seven years in prison.
But a week later, the bills are still being raised, putting the company’s staff in India at risk of government revenge.
“The safety of our employees is a priority for us on Twitter,” the company statement said. “We continue to engage with the Government of India from a position of respect and we approach the Honorable Minister, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for a formal dialogue.”
Twitter actions have put him at the center of a debate on freedom of expression in a country that sees an ongoing crackdown on dissent amid protests by millions of farmers opposed to agricultural reforms they say will hurt them. their revenues. For Twitter, blocking accounts once again would mean enabling this crackdown, but not limiting the risk to legal consequences.
“We review every report we receive from the government as soon as possible, and we take appropriate action on such reports while ensuring that we uphold our core values and our commitment to protecting public conversation,” he said on Twitter. . “An update is being shared through our established channels of communication with the Government.”
Despite the educated language, certain people, including senior Twitter employees saw a double significance in the statement. During the Arab Spring of 2011, Biz Stone, co-founder of the society and former general counsel Alexander Macgillivray, wrote a post that clarified the society’s position regarding freedom of expression. Has been entitled: “Tweets Become Flowing”.