X Blocks Unverified Political Posts in India Ahead of General Election

X, formerly Twitter, blocks unverified political posts in India ahead of elections, despite disagreeing with the order. The move highlights the complexities of balancing free speech and regulatory compliance for social media platforms.

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Dil Bar Irshad
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X Blocks Unverified Political Posts in India Ahead of General Election

X Blocks Unverified Political Posts in India Ahead of General Election

X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, has blocked unverified political posts in India following an order from the country's Election Commission. The move comes ahead of India's general election, set to start on April 19 and involve nearly 968 million voters. While X has complied with the order, the platform has expressed disagreement with the decision.

The Election Commission's directive required X to block a number of political posts containing unverified claims made by elected officials, political parties, and candidates about their opponents. X is withholding these posts from Indian audiences until the election period concludes, despite its stance on the restrictions. "X believes in freedom of speech but is complying with the order, despite disagreeing with it," the company stated.

This is not the first time X has been asked to remove content in India. The Indian government has previously issued executive orders requiring the platform to act on specific accounts and posts, subject to potential penalties including significant fines and imprisonment. X emphasized that it will withhold the accounts and posts in India alone, maintaining that freedom of expression should extend to these posts.

Why this matters: The complexities of addressing free speech in the digital age are highlighted as the Indian government's requests for social media content removal and the use of internet shutdowns during civil unrest have drawn concerns from rights groups about the decline in press freedom. The role of social media platforms like X continues to be under scrutiny as they balance regulatory compliance with the principles of free speech and open discourse.

India's electoral process is set to move forward, with a staggering 968 million eligible voters participating in the world's largest democratic exercise. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a record-equalling third straight term, while the main opposition Indian National Congress (INC) party, as part of a broader alliance, aims to defeat the BJP. The election is seen as critical for India's economic and democratic future, with key issues including inflation, welfare policies, corruption, unemployment, farmers' distress, and the BJP's Hindu nationalist agenda.

Key Takeaways

  • X (Twitter) blocks unverified political posts in India ahead of elections per govt order.
  • X disagrees with the order but complies, citing free speech concerns.
  • This is not the first time X has been asked to remove content in India.
  • India's 968 million voters to participate in the world's largest democratic exercise.
  • Key election issues include economy, welfare, corruption, and BJP's Hindu nationalist agenda.