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Farmers’ Protest: Twitter suspends 500 accounts linked to movement

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New York: Defending its policies in India, Twitter, on Wednesday suspended nearly 500 accounts related to the ongoing farmers’ protest against Centre’s three ‘farm laws’. The move comes after government’s notice to the micro-blogging app, directing to remove over 1,400 accounts from its platform linked to the ongoing agitation.

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Twitter India officials also later met the Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to discuss the issue.

Twitter issuing a statement said that “transparency is the foundation for promoting healthy public conversation.’’ Providing an update about its policies, it further said, “Following the reports of violence in recent weeks, we’re sharing a granular update on our proactive efforts to enforce our rules and defend our principles in India.”

“We believe transparency is the foundation for promoting healthy public conversation on Twitter and to earn trust. It is critical that people understand our approach to content moderation and how we engage with governments around the world, and that we are transparent about the consequences and the results of this work. Our Transparency Report and Lumen continue to be the places to go to observe trends in the requests governments make of us, and to assess how we operate globally.”

The statement further read, “ The values that underpin the Open Internet and free expression are increasingly under threat around the world. Following the reports of violence in New Delhi in recent weeks, we wanted to share a granular update on our proactive efforts to enforce our rules and defend our principles in India. Twitter exists to empower voices to be heard, and we continue to make improvements to our service so that everyone — no matter their views or perspective — feels safe participating in the public conversation.”

The micro-blogging site further informed that its global team provided 24/7 coverage and took enforcement action judiciously and impartially on content, Trends, Tweets, and accounts that were in violation of the Twitter Rules beginning January 26, 2021.

It further informed that the firm has taken action on hundreds of accounts that violated the Twitter Rules, particularly inciting violence, abuse, wishes of harm, and threats that could trigger the risk of offline harm. “Prevented certain terms that violated our Rules from appearing in the Trends section. Suspended more than 500 accounts that were engaging in clear examples of platform manipulation and spam. Tackled misinformation based on the highest potential for real-world harm, and prioritized labelling of Tweets that were in violation of our synthetic and manipulated media policy.’’

“We took steps to reduce the visibility of the hashtags containing harmful content, which included prohibiting them from trending on Twitter and appearing as recommended search terms. We took a range of enforcement actions — including permanent suspension in certain cases — against more than 500 accounts escalated across all MeitY orders for clear violations of Twitter’s Rules,’’ the company wrote in a blog post.

It further stated that “it will continue to maintain a dialogue with the Government of India and respectfully engage with them.’’

“We will continue to advocate for the right of free expression on behalf of the people we serve. We are exploring options under Indian law — both for Twitter and for the accounts that have been impacted. We remain committed to safeguarding the health of the conversation occurring on Twitter, and strongly believe that the Tweets should flow,’’ Twitter said in its blog post.

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