X Disputes Government's Directive On Withholding Posts, Cites Freedom Of Expression

Elon Musk’s social media platform, X (previously known as Twitter), announced on Thursday its disagreement with the Indian government’s directive to restrict certain accounts and their posts. The platform highlighted the conflict between complying with government orders and upholding freedom of expression.

What Happened? X’s Global Government Affairs team stated that the Indian government’s executive orders demanded action against specific accounts and posts, warning of potential penalties including hefty fines and imprisonment. Despite complying by withholding the accounts and posts, X expressed its dissent, emphasizing the importance of freedom of speech in these instances.

The platform also revealed a pending writ petition challenging the Centre’s blocking orders. X has notified affected users, aligning with its policy, but cited legal constraints in publishing the executive orders themselves. X argued for the necessity of publicizing such orders to ensure transparency and prevent arbitrary decision-making.

See also: Google Plans To Initiate Pixel Production In India As Early As Next Quarter: Report

Past disagreements: In 2022, under its former name, Twitter, the platform contested the Indian government’s order to remove content, arguing that the orders didn’t meet the criteria set by Section 69A of the IT Act. However, in 2023, the Karnataka High Court dismissed this challenge, imposing a ₹50 lakh fine on the company, citing improper conduct.

Continuing its legal battle, X is now seeking access to decisions made by the Centre’s Review Committee. The platform claims the Committee had previously ordered the blocking of some accounts and then reversed these orders in at least 10 instances. The case remains under judicial consideration.

This development follows the Centre’s recent order to temporarily block about 177 social media accounts and web links, including those on Facebook, Instagram, X, and Snapchat, related to the ongoing farmers’ protest, highlighting the ongoing tension between social media platforms and government regulations.

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