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Twitter starts blocking handles flagged by govt, 702 accounts deactivated so far
The government had also suspected 1,178 for having Khalistani, Pakistani links.
Staring at a possibly heavy penalty and action against its top employees, Twitter India started blocking the accounts reported by the Union government for inflammatory content. The microblogging website assured the government that it will review the content on handles flagged in a notice sent by the IT Ministry under Section 69A of the IT Act.
Under the said section of the IT Act, senior officials of the company can face a jail term of up to seven years and financial penalty.
The IT ministry under Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the social media giant that it was obliged to abide by its instructions, keeping public order in mind and to defuse an atmosphere of public hatred and tension. The ministry said 'motivated campaigns' on Twitter and hashtag around PM Modi were being used to 'abuse, inflame and create tension in society on unsubstantiated grounds'.
As many as 709 accounts were deactivated by Twitter. These include 126 handles that had posted on Twitter using #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide, and 583 accounts that may have links with Khalistani or Pakistani elements to spread misinformation, provocative content.
Originally 257 handles had tweeted with the hashtag #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide. The government had also suspected 1,178 for having Khalistani, Pakistani links.
Responding to India’s request for blocking 1,178 Pakistan-Khalistani accounts spreading misinformation amidst the farmers' protest, a spokesperson of Twitter website on Monday said, "our goal is to respect local law while protecting our foundational principles of free expression”.
"If we receive a valid legal request about potentially illegal content on Twitter, we review it under both the Twitter rules and local law. If the content violates Twitter's rules, the content will be removed from the service," a Twitter spokesperson said.