Twitter Is Blocking Tweets That Criticize How The Indian Government Has Handled The Pandemic

The government also restricted dozens of tweets that criticized Modi or shared pictures of India’s overflowing crematoriums and hospitals, in addition to a tweet from the Indian American Muslim Council, a Washington, DC–based advocacy organization of Indian American Muslims. That group shared a Vice story about the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage attended by hundreds of thousands of Indians earlier this month, which turned into a superspreader event.

“While hundreds of thousands of Covid patients are literally gasping for breath, the government’s alacrity in pressuring Twitter to block tweets critical of its handling of the crisis shows the administration’s moral compass continues to point in a direction that is shamelessly self-serving,” the IAMC said in a statement.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Ghatak for comment.

Earlier this year, India’s coronavirus cases plummeted, and most parts of the country resumed normal life. At the beginning of March, India’s health minister said that the country was in the “endgame” of the pandemic. But the country is now in the throes of a second wave sparked by a new virus variant, religious gatherings, and election rallies. India currently has the highest number of daily infections in the world, and its healthcare system has collapsed. Medical oxygen is in short supply, ventilators are hard to find, and vaccines are running low. According to Johns Hopkins data, India had 346,786 new cases Friday and 2,624 deaths.

Despite the numbers, Modi has continued holding massive election rallies.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has complied with the Indian government’s orders to censor tweets. In February, the company blocked more than 250 accounts in India that criticized the government’s handling of protests by hundreds of thousands of farmers against new agricultural laws. The company subsequently struck a defiant note, unblocking accounts belonging to journalists, activists, and politicians, despite jail threats from the Indian government.


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