A tweet about an Indian government official was removed by Twitter worldwide — a first-of-its-kind censorship move for the social media company.
The Hindu Times reported over the weekend that activist Saurav Das’ tweet where he mentions Amit Shah, India’s union minister of Home Affairs, was cut by the platform.
Instead, the tweet was replaced by a message that said, “Your tweet has been withheld in Worldwide in response to a legal demand.”
My tweets have been withheld not just in India, but worldwide. I don’t remember the context of tweeting this, can anyone figure out? pic.twitter.com/lUwCfV1870</ a>
— Saurav Das (@OfficialSauravD) April 7, 2023
Twitter will typically block tweets within a specific country to comply with local laws, but will let the tweet be visible in other parts of the world. The only tweets deleted globally are those that violate the company’s Terms of Service.
However, The Hindu Times reported it couldn’t view the tweet from Mr. Das even while using a virtual private network connection based in the U.S.
The social media platform was accused of acquiescing to demands from the Indian government last week after the company blocked more than 120 accounts in the country, according to The Guardian.
Canadian Jaskaran Sandhu, who co-founded Baaz News that covers news related to Sikh people worldwide, told the outlet his account was deleted in India last month without explanation.
“The Indian government has made it a norm to take draconian measures and crack down on dissent coming from Sikh or other minority communities,” Mr. Sandhu told The Guardian. “Twitter’s actions are just another example [that shows] civil liberties and democratic rights are under attack.”