In 2021, the Indian government allegedly ordered Twitter to block a 2020 tweet by Freedom House India about declining internet freedom in the country. The social media company is said to have enforced the order only on Sunday. It also blocked some tweets and/or handles from various other users who were said to be critical of the Indian government. Multiple users shared screenshots of emails they received from the Weibo platform explaining that the content they shared had been blocked in India. Additionally, some users’ secondary accounts shared screenshots that said their accounts had been “detained in India due to legal requirements.” However, in some cases, Twitter did not take any action after the Indian government made a takedown request.
The development was first reported by Entrackr, a publication that claimed content removal requests were issued in 24 batches, but were disclosed (and apparently enforced) by Twitter on Sunday. It is important to note that the content of accounts and handles blocked in India are visible in other countries. Advertisement Shout reviewed the list of tweets that the Indian government ordered Twitter to block, citing the Information Technology Act 2000 as the reason for the removal, tracking requests for removal of online content through the Lumen database.Additionally, we reached out to Twitter for a statement about the relocation and received this statement, “As we National Withholding Policy, it may be necessary to deny access to certain content in response to valid legal requests. Withholding tax is limited to certain jurisdictions/countries where the content is determined to be illegal. “
The specific content released by the Freedom House handle (@freedomhouse), a democratic organization dedicated to expanding freedom around the world, is restricted in India, according to its resume. The publication noted that tweets detained in India included those discussing the decline in the state of internet freedom in India, as part of the group’s 2021 World Freedom Report.
A tweet hidden by Freedom House included a link to a report that included the names of countries, including India, that blocked people’s access to websites and social media and their impact on restricting their access to information during Covid-19.
One user further highlighted that Freedom House has removed India’s democracy score from its interactive database, leaving only the Global Freedom and Internet Freedom scores. These claims have not been independently verified by Advertisement Shout.
Some content posted by Pieter Friedrich’s handle (@FriedrichPeter)Journalists and experts on South Asian affairs were also detained. Separately, Lana Ayub, a journalist associated with publications such as The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Time, The New York Times, The Guardian, and others, posted an email she received from Twitter. Screenshot of an email that the platform notified her that certain content she posted (or tweeted) through her account was being held in India under the Information Technology Act 2000.
The email makes it clear that Twitter’s policy is to notify account holders in case they receive a request from an authorized entity, such as a law enforcement or government agency, to remove content from their account.
In addition to Ayyub, the Twitter account of the Kuwaiti lawyer who has the Twitter handle @MJALSHRIKAhe has a history of opposing ‘Muslim atrocities in India’, CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) (pass CJwerlemanshow) and @tTractor2twitrto support the peasant movement (pass) Has been “detained in India as required by law”.
Meanwhile, Twitter also informed some users that they had received requests from the Indian government that their accounts violated Indian law, but the company has yet to take any action against them. Journalist Mohammed Zubair was recently in the news for sharing a video in which former BJP leader Nupur Sharma allegedly made some derogatory remarks against the Prophet Muhammad during the debate, shared a screenshot Among them, Twitter explicitly mentioned that it “is not currently taking any action on the content of the report” because “it believes in defending and respecting the voices of our users.”
According to 2021 Report According to Twitter, India is one of five countries that account for 95 percent of total global legal requests, which include a combination of court orders and other formal requests to remove content from government entities and lawyers representing individuals. India accounted for 11% of global legal demand, down from 18% in the previous reporting period.
2020 has reportedly seen a surge in requests from governments around the world for Twitter to remove content posted by journalists and news outlets. India submitted the majority of removal requests, followed by Turkey, Pakistan and Russia.