India asks Twitter to block posts critical of COVID-19 handling

New Delhi: Twitter Inc. has removed or restricted access to more than 50 posts in the past one month at the behest of the Indian government, including tweets that criticised its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian Express newspaper reported.


Other posts that were removed showed pictures and videos of a recent attack in Chhattisgarh carried out by Maoist guerrillas, the paper reported, citing disclosures made by the social media platform to the Lumen Database, which collects and analyses legal complaints and requests for removal of online materials.


Twitter reviews all “valid legal requests” they receive under the company’s laws and local rules, the spokesperson said in response to a request by Bloomberg News seeking comment.


“If it is determined to be illegal in a particular jurisdiction, but not in violation of the Twitter Rules, we may withhold access to the content in India only,” the spokesperson said in the emailed statement.


Earlier this year the social media giant had to permanently suspend more than 500 accounts and block access to hundreds of others in India, acceding to a government order to restrain the spread of misinformation and inflammatory content related to farmers’ protests.

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