Twitter blocks accounts over India farm protests on gov't order

Twitter blocks around 250 Tweets  Twitter accounts for using #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide on MHA's request

Twitter India on Monday restored numerous accounts it had earlier withheld on the platform in response to a legal request from Indian authorities related to the ongoing farmer agitation.

According to an ANI report, the ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) on January 30 directed Twitter to block about 250 tweets/Twitter accounts, which were using a hashtag "Modi Planning Farmer Genocide" and making provocative tweets.

Twitter said that during the meeting with the concerned officials, the company conveyed that the content is free speech and newsworthy.

Besides this, Twitter has also banned accounts covering the farmer protests.

"If we receive a properly scoped request from an authorized entity, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in a particular country from time to time", a Twitter spokeswoman said in a statement.

Twitter blocked dozens of accounts in India on Monday, including that of a leading newsmagazine, on the demand of India's BJP government on grounds that the "users were posting content aiming to incite violence", two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The account of Prasar Bharati's Chief Executive Officer Shashi S Vempati has also been suspended.

The development comes in the wake of violence in Delhi on January 26 during a tractor parade of farmers, protesting against the three new central agriculture laws.

After the blockages drew widespread condemnation online, Twitter said it had unblocked all the accounts late on Monday.

Twitter has reportedly blocked accounts of Kisan Ekta Morcha, The Caravan India, Manik Goyal, Tractor2twitr and jatt_junction, all in India, amongst others. This means that the legal demand government.

Twitter said, "Pending our discussions with the regulatory authorities, we temporarily withheld these accounts in India under our Country Withheld Content policy in response to a valid legal request from MEITY". The hashtag #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide was trending on twitter since Saturday and numerous tweets/Twitter accounts were running from overseas.

The protests are now in their third month, with many farmers camped on the outskirts of the capital, Delhi. "#RestoreHansrajMeena", tweeted the account of Gaon Dastak, a rural news platform. "Protecting public conversation and Transparency is fundamental to the work we do at Twitter", the social media platform said.

When the accounts were withheld, no notice was issued to these accounts stating the reason. In the same year it also suspended, permanently, the account of the American Nazi Party.

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