Twitter under fire in India and Mexico

Twitter under fire in India and Mexico

If microblogging giant Twitter thought that controversies about its role in the spread of conspiracy theories in the US – not to mention anger at the account suspension of former president Trump – would be the end of its woes, recent events in India and Mexico may have given it pause for thought.

Ongoing protests among India’s famers about laws aimed at deregulating the country’s agricultural markets and encouraging private competition have led to the use of a #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag. Twitter has been asked to block 257 accounts using the hashtag under Section 69A of India's IT Act. The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has also asked the company to block 1,178 accounts believed to be linked to Khalistan (a Sikh separatist movement) sympathisers and those backed by Pakistan.

Twitter had suspended some high-profile accounts earlier this month but quickly decided to unblock them saying that the “content is free speech and newsworthy”. This led to a non-compliance notice. Now the company is reportedly hoping to discuss the issue formally with IT and communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. 

Meanwhile, MeitY and some other government departments have set up accounts on native micro-blogging site Koo.

And now Mexico is also looking at ways to manage Twitter’s output. According to Reuters, a prominent senator from Mexico’s ruling party has used ‘freedom of expression’ as a reason for the proposed regulating of major social media networks, including Twitter and Facebook. The reform is apparently aimed at “establishing the grounds and general principles of the protection of freedom of expression in social networks”.

More accurately, the proposed amendment to the federal telecommunications law would grant Mexico’s telecoms regulator oversight in establishing a framework for the suspension and elimination of accounts on social networks.

Ricardo Monreal, the leader of president Lopez Obrador’s MORENA party in the upper house, proposed the legislation. Lopez Obrador has been critical of social media recently, so it will be interesting to see whether he supports this move.

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