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Centre issues notice to Twitter on farmer genocide hashtags; warns of penal action

New Delhi: Government has directed Twitter to comply with its order to remove contents/accounts related to farmer genocide hashtags, and warned that the microblogging platform may face “penal action” for non-compliance with its order.

Government sources said that Twitter had unilaterally unblocked accounts and tweets despite specific order for blocking. Twitter is an intermediary’ and is obliged to obey the direction of government, sources said, adding that the platform may face penal action for not complying with government orders.

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Government notice quoted more than half a dozen Supreme Court judgments including of constitutional benches as to what is public order and what the rights of authorities are.

IT ministry sources asserted that Twitter cannot assume the role of court and justify non-compliance.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) had recently directed Twitter to block around 250 tweets/Twitter accounts that were making ‘fake, intimidatory and provocative tweets’ on January 30 with hashtags accusing the Modi government of planning farmers ‘genocide’ without any further substantiation.

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