Explain why Twitter accounts were withheld: Activist to centre

New Delhi: Activist Saket Gokhale on Wednesday wrote to the centre questioning them for suspension of multiple Twitter accounts.

He took to his Twitter and expressed his anger over the government’s interference with people’s dissent on social media. He wrote, “Today, Twitter has withheld several accounts in India on orders of the Govt of India. This is clear stifling of dissent. I’ve asked the govt to provide the grounds on which these accounts have been withheld WITHIN 48 hours failing which this goes to courts. Enough is enough.”

His letter demanded explanations from the government on certain things. He wrote:

  1. Please provide a complete list of Twitter accounts regarding which a notice has been issued by MEITY to Twitter India for withholding these accounts in India.
  2. Please provide copies of all the notices / demands / correspondence shared with Twitter India by MEITY regarding withholding of certain Twitter accounts in India.

Famous film and television actor Sushant Singh, who is also the anchor of popular TV show Savdhaan India: India Fights Back, took to Instagram to share that his Twitter account had been withheld without notice.

Singh is a vocal critic of the government and often uses his Twitter account to share his views on current political issues. He also slammed Twitter for abruptly withholding his account.

A lot of users online, including actor Swara Bhasker has questioned the reasoning behind this step and criticized the withholding of Singh’s account. Some even asked the microblogging site to restore his account soon.

Earlier in February this year, his account, along with that of other activists was temporarily taken down due to their posts on the farm laws and the protests that followed.

In a major change for internet laws that may undermine privacy, the deadline for significant social media intermediaries to comply with a host of obligations laid down by the government three months ago, ended on May 25. 

The new rules were announced in February which requires large social media platforms to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) wrote to the social media giant, objecting to the ‘manipulated’ tag. The Delhi Police also sent a notice to Twitter India Monday over flagging some of the tweets related to the toolkit as ‘manipulated media’. 

The relationship between the Indian government and Twitter in the country has been tense on a number of occasions in recent months.