Twitter, the IT Act, and the blocking saga explained | In Focus Podcast

Listen to a conversation with lawyer Apar Guta of the Internet Freedom Foundation explaining the provisions of the IT Act behind Twitter's recent blocking of several accounts

February 06, 2021 12:56 pm | Updated 05:54 pm IST

The Central government has issued a notice to Twitter after the microblogging platform reinstated several accounts that the government wanted blocked. Twitter which initially complied with the request and blocked accounts and tweets that mentioned 'farmer genocide', later reinstated the content, reportedly saying that it "constituted free speech and was newsworthy."

The government's initial order on January 31 asked Twitter to block 257 URLs and one hashtag, claiming that they were spreading misinformation about the ongoing farmers protest and could lead to violence. The accounts that were blocked as a result included Caravan India , a news magazine.

The order had cited Section 69A of the Information technology Act in calling for the content to be blocked.

How exactly does the IT Act empower the government to order intermediaries such as social media platforms and Internet Service Providers to block content? And what are the consequences for platforms like Twitter if they fail to comply. To explain these we have with us today  Apar Gupta , lawyer and executive director of the Internet Freedom Foundation.

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