Twitter withholds access to 250 accounts tweeting about farmer protests

Access to accounts of The Caravan, Kisan Ekta Morcha among those withheld

Feb 01, 2021 11:37:00 AM | Article | Campaign India Team

Twitter has withheld access to 250 accounts in India including that of The Caravan, Kisan Ekta Morcha (farmers collective for the ongoing protests) and Shashi Shekhar (CEO, Prasar Bharati) among others.
 
Twitter blocked access to these pages as protests against new government laws for farmers continue to take place in the country.
 
The microblogging platform has stated that the accounts were blocked after it received a 'properly scoped request from an authorised entity'. The social media platform usually notifies the affected account holders, unless it is prohibited from doing so (if it receives a court order under seal).
 
According to media reports, the accounts that have been blocked have tweeted in support of the farmers protest or against the government. The reports also state that Shekhar's account was blocked by mistake and he was the one who drew the government's attention to tweets against it.
 
On contacting Twitter about the blocked accounts, the social media platform shared the following statement with Campaign India:
 
Many countries have laws that may apply to Tweets and/or Twitter account content. In our continuing effort to make our services available to people everywhere, if we receive a properly scoped request from an authorised entity, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in a particular country from time to time. Transparency is vital to protecting freedom of expression, so we have a notice policy for withheld content. Upon receipt of requests to withhold content, we will promptly notify the affected account holders (unless we are prohibited from doing so e.g. if we receive a court order under seal). More information can be found here. We disclose these requests in our biannual Twitter Transparency Report.
 
In December last year, Facebook had blocked a protest page that supported farmers for three hours.