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Elon Musk’s X ‘Disagrees’ With Govt’s ‘Executive Order’ To Block Account, Posts Linked To Farmers Protest

Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) has claimed that the government issued “executive orders” requiring X to act on specific accounts and posts  related to the ongoing farmers’ protests. However, the social media platform has said that it disagrees with these actions and that the posts should not be withheld on grounds of freedom of expression. “The Indian government has issued executive orders requiring X to act on specific accounts and posts, subject to potential penalties including significant fines and imprisonment. In compliance with the orders, we will withhold these accounts and posts in India alone; however, we disagree with these actions and maintain that freedom of expression should extend to these posts,” X said in a post.

Reportedly, the Ministry of Electronics and IT has ordered social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, X (formerly Twitter), and Snap  to temporarily block 177 accounts that were linked to farmers’ protests on request of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The orders were issued against 35 Facebook links, 35 Facebook accounts, 14 Instagram accounts, 42 X accounts, 49 X links, 1 Snapchat, and 1 Reddit account. Notably, while it is common for the government to take down Facebook and X accounts, this is the first time the Centre has issued a blocking order against Snap.

The social media platform said that a writ appeal challenging the Indian government’s blocking orders remains pending and called for making the order public to enhance transparency. “Due to legal restrictions, we are unable to publish the executive orders, but we believe that making them public is essential for transparency. This lack of disclosure can lead to a lack of accountability and arbitrary decision-making,” X said.

The Indian government has issued executive orders requiring X to act on specific accounts and posts, subject to potential penalties including significant fines and imprisonment.

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In compliance with the orders, we will withhold these accounts and posts in India alone; however,…

— Global Government Affairs (@GlobalAffairs) February 21, 2024

Farmers from across the country have been protesting to press for their demands, including a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for crops and farm debt waiver.

Meanwhile, farmer leaders on Wednesday put their march to the national capital on hold for two days after a protester was killed and about 12 police personnel were injured in clashes at one of protest sites on the Punjab-Haryana border.

 

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