Social media platform Twitter has censored tweets critical of the conditions for combating the coronavirus outbreak in the country at the request of the Indian government. The firm said the censored accounts had been notified.
Twitter has removed more than 50 tweets criticizing the Indian government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. High-profile people in the country were among those who tweeted the tweets, which were removed at the request of the government.
The government has sent an emergency order to Twitter to censor 52 tweets, Indian news site MediaNama reported. At the time of the order, Twitter censored the tweets and accounts in question. Censored accounts include a member of the Indian Parliament, two filmmakers, an actor, and the Minister of State of West Bengal.
A Twitter spokesperson told TheVerge that if the tweets violate local laws, the company will not be able to be viewed by people in India. He also said the action was the result of a legal request from the Indian government. He underlined that the accounts to be censored were also informed about the issue.
This is not the first time Twitter has bowed to the Indian government. During protests in the country in February, the company permanently blocked more than 500 accounts at the request of the government. Also, the Indian government issued a declaration of noncompliance for the company. According to the New York Times, if Twitter had rejected the statement, prison sentences would have been raised for all its employees in the country.
Laws in India restrict the publication of material that the government considers defamatory or that it claims could incite violence. As a result of these laws, a tweet from West Bengal State Minister Moloy Ghatak accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not taking the coronavirus outbreak seriously, and many other statements were removed from the platform.
India, which has completely vaccinated 1.5 percent of the country’s population, is one of the countries experiencing the most problems in the epidemic. The other day, 346,786 people were reported to have contracted the virus, bringing the death toll to 2,624.