Twitter declines India’s demand to remove posts and accounts in connection to farmers’ protest

Twitter has declined to abide by the ‘orders’ of the Indian government to take off ‘provocative’ accounts and posts from its platform posting in favour of the farmers’ protest and against Modi’s government

According to Reuters, Twitter’s refusal to remove nearly 250 accounts and posts in the pre-text of farmers’ protest has ‘put the social media giant in the middle of a political firestorm’.

Twitter has cited ‘insufficient justification’ as the reason for not suspending the accounts. The technology ministry of India has warned the company in a letter of legal consequences that could include fines or jail, asserting that no justification was required by the government to demand a ban on Twitter accounts, reports Reuters.

Thousands of farmers are protesting against the new agriculture laws in India that, they say, unduly benefit the buyers at the expense of the growers and producers.

Earlier this year, the CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey hit ‘like’ on several tweets praising singer Rihanna for her tweet in support of the farmers’ protest in India, including the one suggesting an emoji for the hashtag #FarmersProtest. Important to mention here that global campaigns such as #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter have their own emojis.

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“It is not surprising that the Indian government is trying to muzzle voices on Twitter. The Modi regime has proved again and again that it will stop at nothing to promote its own agenda and silence all those who attempt to voice the violations they face at the hands of the state and the government”, says Sadaf Khan commenting on Twitter’s decision to resist Indian government’s demands.

“This conflict also demonstrates why it is important for the content regulation mechanisms to be clear and concise so neither the governments nor the corporations alone have the power to make arbitrary and unilateral decisions about content regulation, especially when it has underlying political and human rights dimensions”.

Asad Baig is an Islamabad-based journalist. He is the founder and the executive director of Media Matters for Democracy, Pakistan's leading media development organisation. He's also the CEO of the Media Lab, country's first and only incubator and accelerator for digital media startups. He tweets at @asadbeyg.

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