Musk’s X withholds accounts, tweets in India to obey orders | TechCrunch

X, formerly known as Twitter, said Wednesday it is withholding specific accounts and posts in India, action it said the firm disagrees with, in response to executive orders issued by the Indian government. Non-compliance with the executive orders, X said, would have subjected the firm to “potential penalties including significant fines and imprisonment.”

X’s Global Government Affairs said legal restrictions prevent it from publishing the executive orders, but “we believe that making them public is essential for transparency.” X will file a writ appeal challenging the Indian government’s blocking orders, it said, and has notified users who are impacted by the orders.

“This lack of disclosure can lead to a lack of accountability and arbitrary decision-making,” X cautioned.

The disclosure from X follows New Delhi ordering to temporarily block about 177 accounts and posts surrounding farmers’ protests in the country. The authorities this year blocked some social media accounts ahead of the protests, where farmers are demanding the minimum support price of their produce to be increased.

India is one of the key markets for global technology firms. The South Asian market’s amended IT rules provide New Delhi with greater powers to force compliance from internet services in the country.

As privacy advocate Apar Gupta wrote in a recent post on X:

Blocking orders for Twitter accounts of farm leaders have been issued in advance. This form of pre-censorship is without any transparency or natural justice.

Twitter under new ownership will no longer disclose the URLs to the Lumen Database taking away any transparency. It also lost the Karnataka High Court case which employed theocratic (as opposed to constitutional) reasoning. I wrote on this separately, but that’s an aside.

The government on its part will not disclose or submit to accountability. Why block entire accounts in advance? Is the account itself illegal? It will not bother asking these questions for fewer people will ask them today than two years ago. As its march towards total power becomes menacing it commands greater levels of social compliance. Either by discipline, despondency or indoctrination. This is not surprising, what does provide anguish is the vile commentary against farmers on social media. How easy it is to forget that close to 750 protestors who lost their lives? Have we as a society lost all civility in disagreement?

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