Twitter has been consistently blocking more and more accounts in India since 2014, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) revealed in Lok Sabha today. As per the data shared by ministry, the number of accounts blocked on Twitter dipped marginally in 2018, but other than that, the number has been rising ever since. Also Read - Twitter user base increases to 238 million amid legal battle with Elon Musk
The data shared by Meity in Lok Sabha shows that Twitter blocked a total of eight accounts in India in 2014, 15 accounts in the country in 2015, 194 accounts in 2016, 558 accounts in 2017, 225 accounts in 2018, 1041 accounts in 2019, 2731 accounts in 2020, 2851 accounts in 2021 and a total of 1122 accounts in 2022. Also Read - Twitter hacks: How to bookmark a tweet
“Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 empowers Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to block information in any computer resource in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above. For blocking of information, MeitY follows the due process as specified in the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009,” Meity said at Lok Sabha today. Also Read - Twitter bug let hack get data of 5.4 million users, up for sale for $30,000: Report
“In line with the objective of the Government to ensure an Open, Safe & Trusted and Accountable Internet for all its users, MeitY issued directions for blocking to Twitter to block URLs including accounts under provision of section 69A of the IT Act, 2000. MeitY does not maintain data regarding period of existence of accounts that were suspended by Twitter,” the Ministry added.
It is worth noting that the revelation comes a day after the Karnataka High Court issued a notice to government in connection with the order asking the micro-blogging platform to block nearly 1,100 Twitter accounts.
While appearing in front of the Karnataka HC bench, Twitter explained that if the blocking order continues, it would have to continue its business in India. The company argued that for accounts to be blocked, reasons have to be recorded and given to the company — a process that is not being followed right now.
The Karnataka HC bench has now posted the matter for hearing on August 25, 2022.