As criticism grew of India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, the Indian government (specifically the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) asked social media companies to start censoring this criticism. Twitter complied according to Geo News:
A Twitter spokesperson also confirmed it received a valid legal request from the Indian government. “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,” said the Twitter official.
Acting on the complained, Twitter has removed more than 50 tweets that criticised the Indian government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The censored tweets and accounts include ones owned by a sitting member of India’s Parliament, two filmmakers, an actor, and a West Bengal state minister.
Facebook took similar action, particularly censoring the hashtag #ResignModi, but it turns out this was just a mistake! Times of India reported:
Facebook said it barred the hashtag by mistake and not at the behest of the government, without elaborating. […] The error stemmed from content associated with the label and not the hashtag itself, the spokesperson added.