Elon Musk's X ‘disagrees’ with order on accounts linked to farmers' protest | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Elon Musk's X complies but ‘disagrees’ with India's order to suspend accounts linked to farmers' protest

ByVaishnawi Sinha
Feb 22, 2024 12:15 PM IST

Elon Musk-led X says it complied with Centre's orders to suspend accounts linked to farmers' protests, but disagrees with the directives.

Days after the ministry of electronics and information technology finalised its emergency blocking orders against dozens of social media accounts and posts linked to the farmers’ protests, Elon Musk's social media company X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday said it will withhold specific accounts and posts in compliance with the executive orders issued by the Indian government.

Elon Musk-led X decided to suspend accounts linked with farmers' protest.(AFP)
Elon Musk-led X decided to suspend accounts linked with farmers' protest.(AFP)

The firm, owned by Elon Musk, however, expressed its disagreement with the directives and stressed its commitment to freedom of speech.

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Through its Global Government Affairs account, X wrote, “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,” it added.

The Global Government Affairs, backing its support for freedom of speech, said that a writ appeal challenging the orders of the Indian government regarding the suspending of accounts currently remains pending.

“Consistent with our position, a writ appeal challenging the Indian government's blocking orders remains pending. We have also provided the impacted users with notice of these actions in accordance with our policies,” it said.

X further added, “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.”

Centre's orders against X accounts on farmers protest

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) finalised its orders on the suspension of 177 accounts linked to the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march by the farmers surrounding the national capital, Hindustan Times was the first to report. The Centre further sent this order to Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, X (formerly Twitter), and Snap, urging them to block these accounts to maintain public order.

These emergency orders were issued by MeitY on the behest of the Ministry of Home Affairs on February 14, a day after the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march began. The companies were told that the accounts need to be suspended till February 19 to maintain law and order, after which they can be restored.

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