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Twitter “withholds” Rana Ayyub and others’ accounts on govt orders: What happened, and why

Journalist Rana Ayub shared a takedown notice of her tweet on the Gyanvyapi mosque decision, raisig red flags on India’s current media and online freedom

What happened? Twitter, on June 26, "withheld" access to various tweets and accounts, including one post from journalist Rana Ayyub along with a few others pertaining to the 2021 farmer protests and the recent controversy surrounding the Gyanvapi mosque. Rana Ayyub tweeted an image of a "notice of withholding" sent by Twitter to her late on Sunday. In the email sent to Ayyub, the social media giant notes that her "account" is being withheld in India under the "the country’s Information Technology Act, 2020." Despite this wording, the email itself indicates that a single tweet (linked in the email) and not the whole account is being withheld. While the tweet is not available to view within India, it is still accessible to Twitter users around the world. Ayyub’s withheld tweet — dated April 9, 2021 — was a response to a lower court allowing a survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi. [embed]https://twitter.com/RanaAyyub/status/1541100752604921862[/embed]   Among the other more prominent banned posts is a thread by American think-tank Freedom House that laid out its findings on the declining freedom of the Internet in India. The "withheld" tweets were promoting the "Freedom in the World 2021" report which had accused the Modi government and the BJP of "continuing to crack down on critics during the year” and of "tragically driving India itself toward authoritarianism." Entrackr reported that it had viewed a copy of Twitter's disclosure, noting that the tweets had all used a "version of the world map" with borders disputed by India.…

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