New Delhi: Acting on the Centre’s instruction, Twitter on Monday blocked around 250 tweets and accounts which were actively tweeting provocative posts on farmers protest. Sources told news agency ANI that the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY) has directed Twitter to block around 250 Tweets/Twitter accounts which were using #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag and making fake, intimidatory and provocative Tweets on January 30. Also Read - Pavitra Punia Lashes Out At Trolls For Questioning Her Relationship With Eijaz Khan, Says 'Haters Approval Not Needed'
Sources further added that the move from the social microblogging site came on the request of Ministry of Home Affairs and law enforcement agencies to prevent any escalation of law and order in view of the on-going farmer agitation. Also Read - Twitter Announces New Feature That Would Let Users Charge Followers, Netizens React
Incitement to genocide is a grave threat to public order and therefore the Ministry of Electronics and IT ordered for blocking of these Twitter accounts & Tweets under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, sources added. Also Read - Ready to Protest in Summers: Farmers at Ghazipur Border Put up Tents
The number of Twitter accounts, including those belonging to Kisan Ekta Morcha and the Caravan, have also been blocked in India, 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 a number of Twitter accounts belonging to farmers’ organisations, activists and media groups that were tweeting on framers protests against the farm bill.
This has been done on the request of Ministry of Home Affairs and law enforcement agencies to prevent any escalation of law and order in view of the on-going farmer agitation, added officials. However, it is worth noting that among the blocked accounts, there are also some that were not using that specific hashtag.
For now it is not clear which specific accounts have been blocked. Twitter users are still discovering that a number of 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.”
The crackdown from Twitter comes amid growing outrage on social media platforms over the clashes between Delhi Police and farmers on Republic Day. Post the incident, many cases have been filed against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, as well as several others, for posts and comments on this matter.
On its global website, Twitter has issued an explanation saying instead of blocking accounts, it usually withholds them in a particular country when it gets a legal notice.