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Twitter unblocks high-profile accounts in India

Twitter has restored several accounts of high-profile celebrities and organizations, including actor Sushant Singh, Caravan magazine, Kisan Ekta Morcha, Tractor2twitr and several other politicians, farmer leaders, writers and activists, that were blocked for several hours at the behest of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for spreading misinformation during the farmers’ protests.

Twitter said that during the meeting with the concerned officials, the company conveyed that the content is free speech and newsworthy.

 

“Protecting public conversation and Transparency is fundamental to the work we do at Twitter, the content has been unblocked,” the company said late on Monday.

“Is this tweet visible to Indian accounts?” tweeted Kisan Ekta Morcha, to understand if the account was unblocked.

The IT ministry and law enforcement agencies had last week ordered Twitter to block these tweets and accounts under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act.

According to Twitter, the company blocked these accounts in the interim in response to a valid legal request from MeitY.

A Twitter spokesperson said that 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,” the micro-blogging platform said in a statement.

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),” the company informed.

Twitter last week said it suspended more than 300 accounts engaged in spam and platform manipulation as the farmers’ tractor rally went violent in the national capital on the 72nd Republic Day.

The Delhi Police had warned that 308 Twitter handles have been generated to create confusion over the tractor rally proposed by protesting farmers on Republic Day.