According to Engadget, Twitter is currently facing yet another dilemma. And is due to the rising impact of India’s farmer protests. The Indian government has ordered the social media platform to remove “inflammatory content.”
Otherwise, its employees might face a jail term for not doing that. And thus, it’s being pressurized currently to block more than 250 critical accounts.
Twitter recently unblocked more than 250 accounts that criticized Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They were critical of him over the topic of farmer protests.
Initially, the social media portal blocked these profiles following the pressure of Indian authorities. But then it reversed its action. Due to this, India’s government has threatened to jail its employees unless they block the critics’ profiles again.
The issue of farmers and their protests has turned out to be significant in the last month. Now, it’s being talked about on a global level following several tweets by many famous Western artists and activists, including Rihanna and Greta Thunberg.
Talking about the Indian critics in the present case, then as per reports, they used the hashtag #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide on Twitter. It referred to the controversial proposed laws introduced last year. Indian farmers said it would decrease their earnings while making them dependent on corporations.
When the social media portal unblocked the accounts, including opposition leaders, journalists, and writers, it gave a free speech. On the other hand, the Information and Technology (IT) department ordered its people to block them again.
“Twitter is an intermediary, and they are obliged to obey directions of the government. Refusal to do so will invite penal action,” the IT notice read. It also added that the hashtag used by critics was abusive. And that it tried to generate tension in society over “unsubstantiated grounds.”
Coming towards free speech, it seems like Indian authorities don’t want any defying argument. Despite the extended duration of the farmer protests, the government hasn’t given a valid response. Instead of that, the construction of barriers has increased recently. And as per many media outlets, there has been a strategy to interrupt the protests. They blamed the Indian government for that.
Now speaking in the context of criticism on Twitter, it also looks negative on the government’s part. There seems to be an attempt to suppress the voices of those who disagree with the lawmakers.
Although social media is all about freedom of speech, the government is reportedly trying to stop that. Threatening criticism and those who express dissent can’t be a wise solution.
Image courtesy of Twitter/YouTube Screenshot
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