India, Nigeria and Turkey were all threatened with shutting Twitter down if it did not comply with orders restricting accounts, its co-founder Jack Dorsey has alleged.
Dorsey the former CEO of Twitter, who resigned in 2021. Twitter the CEO of Twitter in 2021 announced in a statement on Monday India threatened Twitter by threatening to shut down the company and impose arrests of employees if it didn’t follow the government’s orders to scrap the posts and block accounts that criticize the government in protests against farmers between 2020 and 2021.
“It was manifested through ways like: ‘We’ll close Twitter off in India that is an extremely large market for us, and we will target the residences of employees’ that’s what they did, and that’s India an open and democratic nation,” Dorsey said in an interview on YouTube news program Breaking Points.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has repeatedly denied participating in internet Internet censorship and on Tuesday said that Dorsey’s statements were an “outright fabrication”.
“No One was in jail, or did anyone get Twitter shut down. Dorsey’s Twitter administration had difficulty in accepting the supremacy of Indian laws,” Rajeev Chendrasekhar, the deputy minister of information technology posted on Twitter.
The farmer protests about reforms in agriculture continued for the duration of an entire year. They were the largest protests faced by the administration of Modi and the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Farmers ended their protests at the end of 2021, after receiving concessions.
“India is a nation that has many demands from us regarding the protests of farmers and around journalists who criticised the administration,” Dorsey said.
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Twitter initially accepted the request, but it later reinstated the majority of accounts, with the company citing “insufficient reasons” to keep the suspensions in place.
Following months, Indian police visited a Twitter workplace as part of a separate investigation linked to the tagging of governing parties’ posts as manipulative. Twitter was at the time saying that it was concerned about its staff’s security.
Since Prime Minister Modi took office in 2014, India’s ranking on the World Press Freedom Index has witnessed a significant decline, plummeting from 140th to 161st place out of 180 nations this year. This current position marks the lowest ranking India has ever achieved on the Index.
Dorsey has also claimed that she was under similar pressure from the governments of Nigeria as well as Turkey who had imposed restrictions on access to the platform within their countries in various points throughout many years, before removing those restrictions.
For instance, when it came to Nigeria, Twitter could not place its workers there within the country due to anxiety about what government could be able to do, Dorsey told Breaking Points.
under Muhammadu Buhari, who was Nigeria’s president from May 15 until May 2023 In the past, Nigeria had an extremely tense relation with Twitter which often served as an avenue for teenagers as well as civil society people who dissidents were disseminating information on violations of human rights of the state.
In June 2021 the Nigerian Information Minister Lai Mohammed claimed that Dorsey was liable for the destruction of state property as well as the death of people in demonstrations against the brutality of police in October, 2020.
Officials were referring to Dorsey’s post on fundraisers for protesters on Twitter.
The continent’s biggest democracy the largest democracy in Africa suspended Twitter in 2021 when it took down a post by President Muhammadu Buhari which threatened to reprimand those who support regional secession. The government removed the ban for seven months in the month of January 2022, after Twitter announced that it would open an office in the local area, as well as other arrangements with officials.
“Twitter has formally agreed to do so in a manner that is respectful of Nigerian legislation and also the nation’s heritage and tradition that the legislation was based,” Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general of the National Information Technology Development Agency made a statement issued at the moment of the announcement.
However, it is unclear which conditions were in place and whether Twitter did not comply with these conditions.
In the month of April, 2021 Twitter inaugurated the doors of its Africa office in neighboring Ghana and stated that it was a place where free expression and internet freedoms in Ghana led to its capital Accra an ideal location. In fact, one of the positions offered for the office was that of a Nigeria-specific curator.
The company was shut down and staff members were allowed to depart following the takeover by Elon Musk.
When it comes in relation to Turkey, Dorsey told Breaking Points: “Turkey is very like Indiaand India]. We had lots of inquiries from Turkey. We battled Turkey on their court and won a lot of times, however they threatened to block us repeatedly.”
The officials did not have an immediate action from Nigerian officials, nor Turkish officials.
Big Tech vs Modi
In India In India, in which Modi as well as his cabinet members have been prolific users on Twitter freedom of speech, activists complain that the government uses the use of excessive censorship on content that they feel is incongruous with its work.
India remains firm in its assertion that the removal orders aim to protect users as well as the authority of the government. However, advocacy and rights groups have expressed questions concerning human rights as well as freedom of speech within the country.
Dorsey’s remarks again shine emphasis on the problems with foreign technology giants that operate under Modi’s regime. Modi’s government has frequently criticized Google, Facebook and Twitter for failing to stop false or “anti-India” information on their websites as well as for not complying to the regulations.
The ex- Twitter CEO’s comments attracted widespread media attention because it’s unusual for multinational companies that operate in India to openly criticize the Indian government.
In the year 2000, Xiaomi in a court document claimed that the financial crime department of India warned its top executives of “physical physical violence” and threats of coercion. An assertion that the company denied.
Twitter was acquired by Musk through a $44bn purchase this year.
Minister Chandrasekhar claimed that the Twitter team was under the leadership of Dorsey and his staff has repeatedly sinned against Indian laws. The minister did not mention Musk but said Twitter was compliant until June 2022.