Twitter said Wednesday it had suspended some accounts in India after New Delhi served the social media giant several orders to block accounts amid civil unrest.
The announcement comes after months of unrest in India over changes to agriculture bills in the country. Protesting farmers have been met with internet cuts and social media blocks, which New Delhi has said are necessary for security.
In a blog post, Twitter said that the blocked accounts are still viewable outside of India, and that out of the accounts suspended, none belonged to journalists or media organizations, as this would “violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law.”
Just last week, Twitter blocked hundreds of accounts in India — many of them belonging to news professionals and activists.
Twitter said that two orders served by the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) were “emergency orders,” and that while they were initially complied with, Twitter later restored the accounts, arguing that blocking them was against India’s own free speech laws.
“After we communicated this to MeitY, we were served with a non-compliance notice,” the blog post said.
Twitter relented, to some degree, after the order, as the company was told its local employees could face up to seven years in prison under an Indian information technology law.
After more the two months of protests and campaigns against the new “farm bills,” which protesters say would leave them at the mercy of corporations, the demonstrations have experienced a resurgence and received international attention over the last week.