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Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Claims Indian Government Pressured Twitter During Farmers' Protests

Jack Dorsey, the founder of Block and former CEO of Twitter, has sparked controversy with his recent statements in an interview where he claimed that Twitter received numerous requests from the Indian government to take action against accounts covering the farmers' protests that took place in 2020-21. Dorsey further alleged that the Indian government also urged Twitter to target journalists who were critical of the government during that period.

Speaking to the YouTube channel Breaking Points, Dorsey said, "India is a country that had many requests of us around the farmers' protest, around particular journalists that were critical of the government... 'we will shut Twitter down in India', which is a very large market for us. 'We will raid the homes of your employees', which they did; 'we will shut down your offices if you don't follow suit'. And this is India, a democratic country."

Jack Dorsey

The video interview quickly went viral on social media platforms, shared by Srinivas BV, National President of the Indian Youth Congress. However, MoS IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar rejected Dorsey's claims, calling them an "outright lie" and suggesting that it was an attempt to divert attention from Twitter's controversial actions during that period. Chandrasekhar accused Twitter of repeatedly violating Indian law while Dorsey and his team were in charge.

Chandrasekhar elaborated on the situation, saying, "During the protests in January 2021, there was a lot of misinformation and even reports of genocide which were definitely fake. GoI (Government of India) was obligated to remove misinformation from the platform because it had the potential to further inflame the situation based on fake news."

The Union Minister also criticized Twitter for engaging in partisan behavior, selectively applying its content policies and deplatforming certain accounts, which he argued violated Articles 14 and 19 of the Indian Constitution. Chandrasekhar accused Twitter of aiding in the weaponization of misinformation. He pointed out the contrast between Twitter's handling of misinformation during the Indian farmers' protests and similar events in the United States.

The farmers' protests, which began in November 2020, saw farmers rallying against three controversial farm laws passed by the Indian Parliament. The protests centered around demands for a legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP) for crops and other related concerns. In November 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the repeal of the three farm laws, acknowledging the government's failure in effectively communicating with the farmers.

The allegations made by Jack Dorsey have reignited the debate surrounding social media platforms, freedom of expression, and their interactions with governments around the world. As the controversy continues to unfold, it raises important questions about the role and responsibility of tech companies in ensuring a fair and unbiased online environment while respecting national laws and democratic values.

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