Twitter removed 52 tweets that mostly criticised Centre government's handling of the second surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the data available on Lumen database, these tweets, which are now inaccessible to Indian users of the social media website, include posts by Revanth Reddy, a sitting Member of Parliament; Moloy Ghatak, a West Bengal state minister; actor Vineet Kumar Singh; and two filmmakers, Vinod Kapri and Avinash Das.
First reported by Medianama, the government had sent an emergency order to Twitter to remove these tweets.
According to THE report, Filmmaker and former journalist Vinod Kapri confirmed that he had received a notice from Twitter that his post was restricted in India. Twitter user Gagandeep Kaur also confirmed receiving such a notice, says the report. Another user namely Pieter Friedrich, publicly acknowledged a similar notice in a separate tweet.
Meanwhile, 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 had took a range of enforcement actions against certain Twitter accounts after the Indian government ordered it to take down nearly 1,435 accounts that were posting content in relation to the farmer protests in India..
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
Twitter said that it withheld a portion of the accounts identified in the blocking orders under its 'Country Withheld Content' policy within India only.