In the standoff with India, Twitter says, “tweets should continue to flow.”


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Twitter attracts attention on its site conflict With India regarding the restriction of accounts in the country. The company on Monday issued its first official response since the Indian government demanded that the more than 250 accounts it had restored in defiance of an order from the Information Technology Ministry be re-locked. Among the accounts that were banned were Caravan, a news magazine, and people who had criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We strongly believe that an open and free exchange of information has a positive global impact, and that Tweets should continue to flow,” the company said in a statement shared with BuzzFeed News.

Twitter’s statement comes in the midst of a standoff with India’s increasingly authoritarian government as millions of farmers protest against agrarian reforms, shaking the nation.

on Monday, Reports in the Indian press She said the government had asked the company to block nearly 1,200 additional accounts that it said was tweeting about the protests, and it was managed from Pakistan. a Transfer The Times of India quoted an anonymous government official as saying that India was upset with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for liking the tweets supporting the protests. A Twitter spokesman declined to comment.

On January 31, the Indian Ministry of Information Technology requested Twitter To prevent More than 250 accounts belonging to activists, political commentators and caravans from inside the country. Twitter complied at first but changed course six hours later. In response, the Government of India Command The site once again blocked accounts and threatened Twitter officials in India with legal consequences for breaking the order, including a fine of up to seven years in prison.

But a week later, the accounts are still open, putting the company’s employees in India at risk of government retaliation.

“The safety of our employees is a top priority for us on Twitter,” the company statement said. “We continue to work with the Government of India from a position of respect and have reached out to the Honorable Minister, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for a formal dialogue.”

Twitter’s actions put it at the center of a debate over freedom of expression in a country that has been witnessing an ongoing crackdown on dissent amid protests from millions of farmers opposed to agricultural reforms that they say will harm their incomes. For Twitter, banning accounts again means enabling this campaign, but not restricting it risks legal consequences.

Twitter said: “We review every report we receive from the government as soon as possible, and take appropriate measures regarding these reports while making sure that we adhere to our core values ​​and our commitment to protect public conversation.” “The update is shared through our existing communication channels with the government.”

Despite the polite language, some people, Including former Twitter employees saw a double meaning in the statement. During the Arab Spring in 2011, the company’s co-founder Biz Stone and former General Counsel Alexander McGillivray wrote a leaflet explaining the company’s position on freedom of expression. she was Titled: “Tweets must be streamed.”


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