India denies threatening Twitter with shutdown over farmers’ protest accounts

Twitter faced threats of shutdown and employee raids from the Indian government if it did not comply with orders to restrict accounts, according to the company’s co-founder Jack Dorsey. The Indian government has dismissed these claims as “outright lies.”

Dorsey, who stepped down as Twitter CEO in 2021, revealed on Monday that India had threatened the company with a shutdown and raids on employees’ homes if it did not comply with government requests to remove posts and restrict accounts critical of the government during the 2020 and 2021 farmers’ protests. Dorsey discussed these threats during an interview with YouTube news show Breaking Points, stating that India is a democratic country, yet it resorted to such measures.

The Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has consistently denied engaging in online censorship. On Tuesday, it responded to Dorsey’s claims by labelling them as “outright lies.” Rajeev Chandrashekhar, junior minister for information technology, defended the government’s position in a Twitter post, stating that no one went to jail nor was Twitter shut down, and that Dorsey’s Twitter regime had a problem accepting the sovereignty of Indian law.

The farmers’ protests, which lasted for a year, were among the biggest challenges faced by Modi’s government and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The farmers eventually ended the protests in late 2021 after securing concessions. Dorsey highlighted that India had made numerous requests regarding the farmers’ protests and particular journalists critical of the government.

During these protests, the Indian government sought an “emergency blocking” of the Twitter hashtag “#ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide” and dozens of accounts. Twitter initially complied but later restored most of the accounts, citing “insufficient justification” for the suspensions. While the Indian government claims its actions are aimed at restricting misinformation and posts that threaten peace and security, rights and advocacy groups have raised concerns about human rights and free speech in the country.

World News


Sara is a journalist and content writer who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics. Sara's journey in journalism began as a copywriter, and over time, her portfolio expanded to include articles and features for some of the nation's top lifestyle publications. Outside the office, she enjoys practising yoga and exploring hidden locations in Bangkok.

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