Co-founder Jack Dorsey said India had threatened to shut down Twitter unless it complied with orders to restrict the accounts, an accusation the Indian government denied as an “outright lie”.
Dorsey, who resigned as Twitter’s chief executive in 2021, said on Monday that India had threatened the company with closures and staff raids if it did not comply with government requests to remove posts and restrict accounts critical of the government over the farmers’ protests. in 2020 and 2021.
“It manifested itself in ways like: ‘We’re going to shut down Twitter in India’, which is a very big market for us;” We’ll raid the homes of your employees,” which they did; and this is India, a democracy,” Dorsey said InterviewWith YouTube news show Breaking Points.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has repeatedly denied it is involved in internet censorship and said on Tuesday that Dorsey’s assertions were an “outright lie”.
“No one has been jailed and no one has been shut down,” Deputy Information Technology Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar said in a post on Twitter. Dorsey’s Twitter regime had trouble accepting the Indian rule of law.”
Farmers’ protests against land reforms have been going on for a year and have been among the largest faced by the Modi government and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Farmers ended the protests in late 2021 after winning concessions.
“India is a country that has had many requests from us about farmers protesting, about certain journalists who were critical of the government,” Dorsey said.
The Indian government says it only aims to curb misinformation and publications that restrict peace and security.
During the protests, Modi’s government sought an “emergency ban” on the “provocative” Twitter hashtag “#ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide” and dozens of accounts.
Twitter initially complied but later restored most of the accounts, citing “insufficient justification” for continuing the suspensions.
Dorsey also cited similar pressure from the governments of Turkey and Nigeria, which imposed restrictions on the platform in their respective countries at various points over the years before that ban was lifted.
Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington, Shilpa Jamkhandikar in Mumbai, and Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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