Twitter has told the Indian government that it will not restrict accounts belonging to journalists, activists and politicians in India, despite having received an order from the country’s federal government. However, it blocks an unspecified number of accounts that do not fall into these categories so that they can be viewed internally in the country.
In a blog post published Tuesday, the company said that even if it had withheld some accounts that the Indian government wanted it to block, it would not block others because doing so would violate freedom of expression.
“Because we do not believe that the actions we have been ordered to take are consistent with Indian law, and, in accordance with our principles of defense of protected speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action. on accounts consisting of new media entities, journalists, activists and politicians, ”the Twitter blog said. “Doing so, we believe, would violate his fundamental right to free speech under Indian law.”
The Twitter post comes amid a fight with the government of India, a major market for the company, to restrict accounts on the platform. Earlier this month, the company restricted people in India have seen more than 250 accounts in the country after receiving an emergency legal order from the IT ministry of India. Among the blocked accounts were the Caravan, an investigative journal; critics of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi; and accounts for tweeting in support of a months-long protest by farmers who are raging in the country.
But Twitter reinstated the accounts six hours later, arguing with the Indian government that the accounts constituted freedom of expression and were notable. In response, the government threatened Twitter officials with a fine and up to seven years in prison for violating his order.
The meeting with the Indian government put Twitter at a disadvantage hard place. Blocking the accounts would mean allowing a crackdown on dissent, freedom of speech and journalism by India’s increasingly authoritarian government. But challenging the government means risking legal consequences.
In the blog post published Tuesday, Twitter said it had taken additional measures such as banning hashtags containing harmful content from the platform, something the government feared would provoke real-world violence amid the protest, and suspend it. permanently more than 500 accounts for violating Twitter rules.
Ma u post it also indicates that Twitter is seeking legal redress to restore some accounts it has limited in the country.
“We will continue to defend the right to free expression on behalf of the people we serve and actively explore options under Indian law – both through Twitter and through accounts that have been affected,” he wrote on Twitter. “We remain committed to safeguarding the health of the conversation that takes place on Twitter, and we firmly believe that Tweets should flow.”