India is trying again to silence criticism online of his government. Midwife and TechCrunch report that the Indian government has ordered Twitter to fire more than 50 tweets criticizing the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twitter has since blocked residents’ access to the posts, which included reviews from an MP, a minister and prominent members of the film industry.
Twitter is not the only platform concerned, TechCrunch added.
The company did not directly address the referrals in a statement and instead outlined its policy. Twitter will “deny access” to content in a particular region only if it is deemed illegal but does not violate social media policies. The firm added that it notifies account holders “directly” when a legal order affects their service, and publishes withdrawal requests on Lumen.
India is grappling with a record increase in COVID-19 cases after resisting relatively well earlier in 2021. Hospitals have been overwhelmed and oxygen shortages have compounded efforts to treat severe cases. Reviews blamed Prime Minister Modi’s administration for the failures, including crowded election rallies, religious rallies and lack of preparation for a second wave.
Twitter has sometimes held its own. He said in February that he would not block activists, journalists and politicians in India. These guarantees do not apply to others, however. Much like other social networks, Twitter tries to strike a balance between free speech and compliance with local laws – and it doesn’t always work as hoped.
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