The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has directed social media platform Twitter to block around 250 Tweets or accounts which were spreading misformation and were using offensive hashtags. MEITY has ordered Twitter to block of accounts which were using #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag and making fake, intimidatory and provocative Tweets on Saturday that was January 30, officials said.
MEITY had moved to block these accounts on recommendation of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and other law enforcement agencies, according to India Today. Law enforcement agencies had flagged these tweets and accounts to prevent the worsening of the law and order situation in lieu of the on-going farmer protests against the Centre's new farms laws.
"Incitement to genocide is a grave threat to public order," a government source told India Today.
IT ministry ordered Twitter to block these tweets and accounts under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act. Complying with the ministry's order, Twitter has blocked the listed tweets and accounts.
Nearly all accounts that have been blocked have some connection with the on-going farmer protests. Some of the accounts were giving out regular updates about the farmer protests. The list of blocked accounts includes- media outlets, politicians, farmer leaders, writers, activists, etc. Twitter handles of Prasar Bharti Chief and Caravan Magazine have been withheld. Other prominent accounts include Kisan Ekta Morcha, Manik Goyal, Tractor2twitr and jatt_junction.
"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 authorized 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)," Twitter told India Today when questioned about blocking these accounts.