Twitter on Wednesday listed a series of actions it took following the orders from the Indian government to suspend over 1,100 accounts for "provocative content."
In a statement, the company said it has taken a range of enforcement actions, including permanent suspension in certain cases, against more than 500 accounts.
This comes amid threat of penal action over non-compliance with the directions given by the IT ministry to block nearly 1,435 accounts in the wake of the farmers' protest. Twitter has been served with several separate blocking orders by the IT Ministry under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act over the last 10 days.
Twitter said it has withheld a portion of the accounts identified in the blocking orders under its 'Country Withheld Content' policy within India only. These accounts, however, will continue to be available outside of India.
The company said it has been enforcing Twitter Rules strictly and taking action on hundreds of accounts for violation, particularly inciting violence, abuse, wishes of harm, and threats that could trigger the risk of actual harm.
It suspended more than 500 accounts that were clear examples of platform manipulation and spam, Twitter said, adding that it also tackled misinformation based on the highest potential for real-world harm, and prioritized labeling of tweets violating its synthetic and manipulated media policy.
On legal requests from the Indian government, Twitter said it has been served with several separate blocking orders by the IT ministry under Section 69A.
Twitter said that of these, two were emergency blocking orders that "we temporarily complied with but subsequently restored access to the content in a manner that we believe was consistent with Indian law."
"After we communicated this to MeitY [the IT ministry], we were served with a non-compliance notice," the company informed.
It also communicated a list of actions it has taken as a result of these blocking orders.
The company said it does not believe that the actions it has been directed to take are consistent with Indian law.
"Separately, today, we have withheld a portion of the accounts identified in the blocking orders under our Country Withheld Content policy within India only. These accounts continue to be available outside of India. Because we do not believe that the actions we have been directed to take are consistent with Indian law, and, in keeping with our principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action on accounts of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians," it said.
To do so, we believe, would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law, Twitter added.
"We informed MeitY of our enforcement actions today, and we will continue to maintain dialogue with the Indian government and respectfully engage with them.
"We will continue to advocate for the right of free expression on behalf of the people we serve. We are exploring options under Indian law—both for Twitter and for the accounts that have been impacted. We remain committed to safeguarding the health of the conversation occurring on Twitter, and strongly believe that the tweets should flow," the company reiterated.