Twitter has pulled down at least 50 tweets at the behest of the Indian government, criticizing it for the poor handling of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The data available on Lumen database shows that the micro-blogging platform has deleted more than 50 tweets that belonged to people like Revanth Reddy, an MP from Telangana; Moloy Ghatak, a West Bengal state minister; two filmmakers; an actor and others.
First reported by Medianama, the government had sent an emergency order to Twitter to remove these tweets.
A Twitter spokesperson said in a statement that when it receives a valid legal request, it reviews it under both the Twitter Rules and local law.
“If the content violates Twitter’s Rules, the content will be removed from the service. In all cases, we notify the account holder directly so they’re aware that we’ve received a legal order pertaining to the account,” the company said in a statement.
For the fifth consecutive day, the country has reported over 2,000 daily deaths. India reported 3.49 lakh fresh Covid cases with 2,760 deaths in the last 24 hours.
In February, Twitter took a range of enforcement actions against certain Twitter accounts after the Indian government ordered it to take down more than 500 accounts for clear violations of its rules.
Despite permanently banning these accounts, Twitter said that it does not believe that the actions it has been directed to take by the Ministry of Information Technology are consistent with the Indian law.
“In keeping with our principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action on accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians.
“To do so, we believe, would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law,” the micro-blogging platform had reiterated.
The IT Ministry had sent Twitter three notices to block nearly 1,435 accounts that were posting content in relation to the farmer protests in India.
Twitter said that it withheld a portion of the accounts identified in the blocking orders under its ‘Country Withheld Content’ policy within India only.