Twitter takes down over 50 tweets criticising the Indian government’s handling of COVID-19 crisis

An official request by the IT Ministry forced Twitter to restrict over 50 posts critical of the Indian Government's failure to handle the ongoing pandemic.

Highlights
  • Twitter has restricted over 50 posts that were critical of the Indian government’s response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 
  • The tweets in question have not been deleted outright, but people with an Indian IP address cannot view them. 
  • A government spokesperson said that this was to curb the spread of misinformation.

At the behest of the Indian Government, social media giants Twitter and Facebook have removed several posts critical of its handling of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Over 100 URLs, including Tweets and Facebook posts, have been restricted by the social media giants. MediaNama reports that several public figures such as journalists, activists, and social workers have had their content restricted, but not outright deleted, as a part of the endeavour. Then again, this isn’t the first time the governtment has pulled off such a move and it certainly isn’t going to be the last. A Twitter spokesperson had the following to say about the matter:

“When we receive a valid legal request, we review it under both Twitter rules and local law. If the content violates Twitter’s Rules, the content will be removed from the service. If it is determined to be illegal in a particular jurisdiction, but not in violation of Twitter rules, we may withhold access to the content in India only. In all cases, we notify the account holder directly so that they are aware that we have received a legal order pertaining to the account”

A spokesperson for the IT Ministry said that this was done to curb the flow of misinformation during the pandemic. However, many of the posts were far from misinformation and merely highlighted the glaring lapse in the medical infrastructure, such as the lack of beds, oxygen, and underreporting of COVID-19 deaths. While it is still possible to view the said posts, one will require an IP address based outside of India, which can be acquired via a VPN service. You can find the complete list of the Tweets in question here (via The Verge).