Tweets Were Taken Down For Spreading Fake News About Covid-19, Not For Criticising Us: Government Clarifies

by Swarajya Staff - Apr 25, 2021 10:12 PM +05:30 IST
Tweets Were Taken Down For Spreading Fake News About Covid-19, Not For Criticising Us: Government ClarifiesUnion Minister R S Prasad and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

Sunday (25 April) saw a social media kerfuffle after it emerged that the government of India got Twitter to take down 52 tweets, some of which were posted by Congress and Trinamool Congress leaders. There were also tweets by critics of the government amongst those taken down.

While Congress Leader Pawan Khera went to the extent of serving a legal notice to Twitter and the government, others took to social media to deplore what they termed as the government's censorship of criticism.

The government on the other land has clarified that there have been innumerable handles criticising the government, and that none of the handles were taken down.

“There are many Twitter handles which have been criticizing the government 24X7, but the government didn’t ask them to be blocked. Only those who have been circulating fake news, old photos etc. and trying to mislead and create panic in the society have been restricted”, sources cited by media sites have said.

Terming their efforts as countering misinformation on Covid-19 government sources have told media that the deleted tweets consisted of old photos being recirculated as Covid-19 aftermath and that these tweets were trying to create panic amongst the public.

One of the tweets taken down featured a funeral pyre that was unrelated to the current Covid-19. Another tweet saw one Hansraj Meena claiming that he had been to 30 cities across the country, and that he was not afraid of Covid-19, and that he did not buy or wear a mask. He termed Covid-19 a "conspiracy". Dozens of users appeared to have followed Meena’s example in tweeting that Covid-19 was a conspiracy using the same hashtag as the original poster.

Many of the tweets taken down appear to have argued against masks while there are also a few that attempt to instigate people along communal lines. Quite a few of the tweets featured unrelated or old photographs - these were claimed to have been taken during the current Covid-19 crisis.

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