Curtailing Free Speech: India’s Account Blocking Amid Farmers’ Protests | X Responds

The Indian government has issued an order for social media platform X to take down certain accounts and posts, which local media reports suggest are related to protests by farmers. X, formerly known as Twitter, has complied with the order but has stated that it disagrees with the action, citing concerns about freedom of expression being curtailed.

This move once again highlights the challenges faced by foreign technology giants in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. The government has frequently criticized companies like Google, Facebook, and X for failing to address what it deems as fake or “anti-India” content. Many social media users in India have reported that their accounts are being blocked or restricted.

X has stated that it will withhold the accounts and posts in India alone, as it continues to challenge the government’s orders through legal channels. The platform’s Global Government Affairs team emphasized the importance of extending freedom of expression to the posts being removed, without specifying the accounts in question.

The decision to comply with the government’s order comes amid protests by Indian farmers, who have faced obstacles in their efforts to march to the capital. According to reports, the government’s blocking orders were issued with regard to accounts belonging to farmers’ groups and their supporters, although the Indian government has yet to issue a statement on the matter.

While X is unable to publish the government orders due to legal restrictions, it maintains that transparency is crucial in such cases to ensure accountability and prevent arbitrary decision-making. The platform’s legal challenge against the government’s orders remains pending, as it continues to navigate the complexities of operating in India’s social and political landscape.

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