Twitter was shocked by a defiant note on it struggle together with India to control the country’s accounts. On Monday, the company released its first official response as it demanded that the Indian government reblock more than 250 accounts it had restored in defiance of the IT ministry’s order. Among the blocked accounts were Caravan, a news magazine, and people who criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We strongly believe that the open and free exchange of information has a positive impact on the world, and that Tweets should continue to flow,” the company said in a statement shared with BuzzFeed News.
The Twitter statement came amid confrontation with India’s increasingly authoritative government as millions of farmers protested the agricultural reforms, shaking the country.
On Monday, press reports in India The government is said to have asked the company to block nearly 1,200 additional accounts it said were tweeting about the protests, and were run from Pakistan. A report the Times of India also quoted an anonymous government official as saying that India was angry with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for liking tweets supporting the protests. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.
On January 31, India’s IT ministry took control of Twitter to prevent more than 250 accounts belong to activists, political commentators, and the Caravan from across the country. Twitter initially complied but changed course after six hours. In response, the Indian government ruling the site to block accounts again and threatened Twitter officials in India with legal consequences for violating the order, including fines and up to seven years in prison.
But a week later, accounts still stand, putting the Indian company’s staff at risk of government retaliation.
“The safety of our employees is a top priority for us on Twitter,” the company said in a statement. “We continue to engage with the Government of India from a position of respect and reached out to the Honorable Minister, Minister of Electronics and Information Technology for a formal discussion.”
Twitter’s actions put it at the center of a free-speech debate in a country that has seen ongoing crackdowns on dissent amid protests by millions of farmers opposed to agricultural reforms. which they say is detrimental to their income. For Twitter, blocking accounts once again means continuing it, but not blocking them risks legal consequences.
“We review every report we receive from the government as quickly as possible, and will take appropriate action in relation to such reports while ensuring that we adhere to our core values and commitment to protecting public communication. public, “according to Twitter. “An update was shared through our established Government communication channels.”
Despite polite language, some people, including ago Twitter staff saw a double meaning in the statement. During the Arab Spring in 2011, company partner Biz Stone and former general adviser Alexander Macgillivray wrote a post explaining the company’s stance on free speech. This is titled: “Tweets Must Flow.”