India’s government is forcing X to censor accounts via executive order amid the farmers’ protest

X, previously Twitter restricts content again in India. This was reported by the company’s Global Government Affairs account Government of India has issued an order in this regard It requires X to shut down specific accounts and posts or face penalties such as “substantial fines and imprisonment.” X further stated that he did not agree with the order and was contesting it.

Designated posts and accounts will be blocked only within India, but there is no exact list of those affected. “Due to legal restrictions, we are unable to publish executive orders, but we believe their public disclosure is important for transparency,” the Global Government Affairs post said. “This lack of disclosure can lead to a lack of accountability and arbitrary decision-making.” X claims to have notified all affected parties.

The posts are likely to center around the ongoing protest by farmers since February 13, which has seen many farmers’ unions go on strike to get a lower price or minimum support price for their produce. Violent clashes between protesters and the police resulted in the death of at least one person. AP News reports. Muhammad Zubair, Indian journalist and co-founder of Alt News, shared screenshots of alleged suspended accounts to critics of the current government, local reporters, prominent farm trade unionists, etc.

This forced blockade is far from the first incident between X and India. in 2022 X sues Indian government for ‘arbitrarily and disproportionately’ enforcing IT laws the previous year has passed. The law required the company to employ a point of contact for local authorities and an internal compliance officer. Prior to this concession, in early 2021, the Indian government threatened to arrest X’s staff if posts about the then-occurring farmers’ protest remained live on the site. Shortly after, the country ordered X to remove content critical of its response to COVID-19.

India rejected X’s claim in June 2023, alleged that the company had not properly explained why it had delayed complying with the country’s IT laws. The court also fined X 5 million rupees ($60,300), saying, “You’re not a farmer, you’re a billion-dollar company.” The order came shortly after the co-founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey claimed that India threatened to raid workers’ homes the company shut down the site if it did not remove the posts during the farmers’ protest.

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