Farmers' Protest:  Here' Why Centre Blocks 177 Social Media Accounts
Farmers' Protest: Here' Why Centre Blocks 177 Social Media Accounts

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) under the central government has taken action by issuing emergency orders to major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter (referred to as X), and Snapchat. These orders direct these platforms to block 177 accounts and associated links related to the ongoing farmers' protest. The aim is to maintain public order, as per the directives of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

These emergency orders were issued following requests from the Ministry of Home Affairs and are supplementary to the final orders given on February 14th. Both sets of orders are temporary and are effective for the duration of the protest. Social media companies have the option to restore the blocked accounts and channels once the protest concludes.

The list of blocked entities includes 35 Facebook links, 35 Facebook accounts, 14 Instagram accounts, 42 Twitter accounts, 49 Twitter links, along with one account each from Snapchat and Reddit. This marks the first instance of the government ordering a blocking of content related to the protest on Snapchat.

A meeting of the Section 69A blocking committee was convened, with representatives from the concerned social media platforms present, except for Reddit. During the meeting, Meta (parent company of Facebook and Instagram) and Twitter argued against blocking entire accounts, proposing instead the blocking of specific URLs containing objectionable content. However, the committee expressed concerns that allowing these accounts to remain active could potentially incite public unrest.

Among the accounts suspended on Monday were notable profiles such as Manoj Singh Duhan's Twitter account from the Unionist Sikh Mission and Facebook pages supporting Lakha Singh Sidhana, a former gangster turned politician.

While the exact number of accounts and URLs blocked under the February 14th order is not yet disclosed, it included profiles such as Kisan Ekta Morcha's Twitter handles, @kisanektamorcha and @Tractor2twitr, as well as the Progressive Farmers Front's @FarmersFront.

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