At the behest of the Indian government, Platform X (née Twitter) has blocked some accounts and posts in India, mostly related to coverage of the two-week protests of Indian farmers. Farmers are protesting the Indian government’s failure to keep promises to set floor prices for some products; Government officials, on the other hand, want to limit such subsidies in the name of the free market, and react harshly to the protests, using water cannons and drones to drop tear gas canisters on angry farmers. The Indian authorities, who seem to be happy to use the latest technologies to spy on opponents, for some reason do not like it when their actions are rebuffed by social media users, so they are moving in the simplest way – to ban them. The ban on X is backed up by the threat of punishments, including fines and even imprisonment.

As instructed, we are only suspending these accounts and posts in India; However, we disagree with these actions and argue that freedom of expression should extend to these publications. Due to legal restrictions, we are unable to publish executive orders, but we believe that their publication is essential for transparency.

X appealed the order and notified users of the block. The Indian officials’ order applies to a total of 177 accounts, and not just on Platform X. Local media reported that the account takedown orders issued on February 14 and 19 also included 35 Facebook links, 35 Facebook accounts, 14 Instagram accounts, and even one Snapchat and Reddit account each. India’s Software Freedom Legal Centre (SFLC) says that in addition to blocking accounts on X (mostly owned by farmers leading the protest), government officials have simply shut down the internet in at least 10 districts of the country, including mobile phones. Whether this artificial silence will help them this time is unknown, but in general, from 2018 to 2022, India became the world leader in power outages by a government not because of technical problems.

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