Twitter has blocked four accounts in India including one of popular musician Jazzy B after receiving a legal request from the Indian government, shows data shared by Twitter with the Lumen database, a project of Harvard University with which it shares such requests as part of its transparency efforts.
Australia-based hip hop artist L-FRESH The LION’s account along with Twitter handles @THE_CSYA and @Tarande61695394 were the other three to be blocked in the country.
The accounts are geo-blocked, meaning that they can be accessed from other parts of the world or by changing the location in Twitter’s account preferences to anywhere outside of India.
According to the information shared with Lumen, the request to Twitter by the government was made on June 6 for allegedly violating India’s Information Technology Act, 2000. Twitter complied with the request on June 7.
UK-based musician Jazzy B had been tweeting in support of the ongoing farmers’ protest in India and had also retweeted a tweet related to the 1984 Operation Blue Star. L-FRESH The LION’s recent retweets were also related to the same incident Both their accounts had also tweeted using the hashtag ‘Neverforget1984’.
“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 the Twitter Rules, we may withhold access to the content in India only,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement.
“In all cases, we notify the account holder directly so they’re aware that we’ve received a legal order pertaining to the account,” the spokesperson added.
We have reached out to Jazzy B and L-FRESH The LION on Instagram DM for comment and will update the story in case they respond. We have also reached out to the information technology ministry for comment.
L-FRESH The LION shared a screenshot of the email he received from Twitter on his Instagram account, which said that the government had sent a legal request to the company to restrict his account claiming it was in violation of India’s Information Technology Act, 2000.
Twitter also confirmed that it had notified the account holders ahead of withholding their accounts.
This development comes amid increased tensions between Twitter and the Indian government over the former’s alleged non-compliance with India’s new social media rules.
In fact, the government had last week sent Twitter “one last notice” to comply with the rules. In its response, Twitter said that it was making every effort to comply with the new rules while continuing a constructive dialogue with the government.