For the best experience, open
on your mobile browser or Download our App.

'We Disagree': X Says Modi Govt Ordered it to Withhold 'Specific Accounts, Posts'

'Due to legal restrictions, we are unable to publish the executive orders, but we believe that making them public is essential for transparency,' X said.
The logo of the social media site X, formerly called 'Twitter'.

New Delhi: The Global Government Affairs page of X – the social media giant formerly called Twitter – has announced that the Narendra Modi government has issued it executive orders to withhold specific accounts and posts, failing to do which will attract fines and imprisonment for officials.

“The Indian government has issued executive orders requiring X to act on specific accounts and posts, subject to potential penalties including significant fines and imprisonment,” the official X page announced in a post, early on February 22.

The post noted that while X is eager to comply, it is not in agreement with the order.

“In compliance with the orders, we will withhold these accounts and posts in India alone; however, we disagree with these actions and maintain that freedom of expression should extend to these posts,” it said.

Despite this insistence, it is pertinent to mention that under Musk’s ownership, X no longer discloses withheld URLs to the Lumen Database that records takedown notices.

X further said that legal restrictions pose hurdles in the path of X publishing the Indian government’s orders – despite the site’s belief that they should be published. It did not elaborate on what the restrictions were.

“Due to legal restrictions, we are unable to publish the executive orders, but we believe that making them public is essential for transparency. This lack of disclosure can lead to a lack of accountability and arbitrary decision-making,” it said.

Last April, in an interview with BBC, Musk had said that he was likely to comply with the blocking orders issued by the Indian government instead of facing a situation where Twitter employees were being sent to jail.

X also said that its writ appeal challenging the Indian government’s blocking orders remains pending.

It is unclear which writ appeal it is referring to. Last year, the Karnataka high court dismissed the petition filed by Twitter Inc, challenging the blocking orders issued to it by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act.

“We have also provided the impacted users with notice of these actions in accordance with our policies,” the site said.

This is the first time X has officially spoken on an Indian government order asking it to withhold accounts, amidst accusations that the site, since Elon Musk took over ownership, has been bowing to government pressure by blocking opposition politicians, journalists, activists and anyone airing views contrary to the government’s stand.

This latest post comes amidst countrywide concerns that over a dozen accounts on X which functioned as official pages of farmers’ organisations and unions ahead of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest have been withheld in India.

The Union government in 2023 notified norms making it obligatory on “intermediaries” like X to “not publish, share or host fake, false or misleading information in respect of any business of the Central government”. The fact-checking unit of the government will identify what is “fake, false or misleading information”.

Make a contribution to Independent Journalism
facebook twitter