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Farmers' protests: Centre asks Twitter to block 1,178 more accounts with Khalistan, Pakistan links

Current notice was served on Thursday last week. New list comprises accounts belonging to Khalistan sympathisers and those with Pakistan links. Some are automated chatbots used to amplify misinformation on farmers' protests

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | February 8, 2021 | Updated 09:25 IST
Farmers' protests: Centre asks Twitter to block 1,178 more accounts with Khalistan, Pakistan links
These accounts may cause threat to public order amid farmers's protests, says IT ministry

The government has served another notice to social media giant Twitter, asking it to block as many as 1,178 accounts over their alleged links with Khalistan sympathisers or Pakistan links. The latest direction comes days after the Centre asked it to block 250 accounts spreading misinformation and spreading hashtags like "farmers genocide" on the popular social media platform. Twitter is yet to completely comply with the Centre's orders.

The current notice was served on Thursday last week, reported Times of India citing sources, adding that the demand was made by the IT ministry after a report by the home ministry. The new list comprises accounts belonging to Khalistan sympathisers and those with Pakistan links. Some also are automated chatbots used to amplify misinformation on farmers' protests.

The direction to block these accounts has been made on the ground that they may cause threat to public order amid the ongoing farmers' protests in the country. The microblogging site has been under the lens of the IT ministry for "violating Indian law" by not acting against those spreading misinformation on "farmers protests".

Recently, the IT ministry had directed Twitter to block around 250 Twitter accounts, which were spreading misformation and were using offensive hashtags. After blocking these accounts for one day, Twitter unblocked them asserting they were not spreading "inflammatory speech". The Centre then said Twitter was obliged to obey "the direction of the government" and any refusal to do so will invite "penal action" under Section 69A of the Act.

Meanwhile, Twitter India's public policy head Mahima Kaul has resigned citing personal reasons. Kaul stepped down in January and will continue to lead in her role as the Public Policy Director till March to help with the smooth transitioning. Some say Kaul might have resigned under pressure but India Today confirmed her resignation is not related to the recent controversy. She worked with Twitter for over five years.

Also read: Take action or face action: Centre's notice to Twitter on 'farmer genocide' hashtag

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