Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

6k social media content takedown orders this yr

- Deeksha Bhardwaj

NEW DELHI: The number of orders issued by the central government to social media companies to take down posts and accounts under Section 69(A) of the Informatio­n Technology Act, 2000, has seen a steep rise over the last couple of years, with nearly 6,000 orders issued until the first week of June this year, officials familiar with the matter told Hindustan Times.

The number, said officials, has gone up from being around 3,600 in 2019, to over 9,800 in 2020. The posts asked to be taken down have been spread out across social media companies, including prominent players like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

“The posts concerned various issues including the recent farmers’ agitation, Kashmir, Khalistan and the pandemic that could have been a threat to public order or violated section 69(A) of the IT Act,” an official familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity, adding, “The orders were sent to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Whatsapp, Pinterest, Telegram. 99% of the orders have been complied with.”

Section 69(A) of the IT Act allows the government to act against social media posts and accounts that may pose a threat to public order or India’s sovereignt­y and integrity, defence of India, security of the State, and friendly relations with foreign states.

According to a reply filed by the ministry of electronic­s and informatio­n technology in Parliament on March 10, 9,849 Urls/accounts/web pages were blocked in 2020, up from 3,603 in 2019; 2,799 in 2018; and 1,385 in 2017.

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