Twitter says seeking talks with India after order to remove accounts

Twitter said on Monday it was seeking talks with India`s technology minister, days after the country asked the U.S. social media giant to take down 1,178 accounts it says are spreading misinformation about ongoing farmers` protests.

New Delhi wrote to Twitter on Feb. 4 asking it to remove the accounts, which it said were backed by arch-rival Pakistan or operated by sympathizers of Sikh separatists, two technology ministry sources said, adding the company had yet to comply.

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India`s security agencies said some of the accounts were being operated from outside the country and were sharing and amplifying misinformation and provocative content on the farmers` protests, one of the tech ministry sources told Reuters, declining to be named as the order was not public.

Twitter did not comment on whether it had complied with the government`s order.

“We continue to be engaged with the government of India from a position of respect and have reached out to the Honourable Minister for a formal dialogue,” a spokeswoman for Twitter in India said, adding that the safety of its local staff was a top company priority.

On Monday, Twitter for the first time said it had formally acknowledged receipt of the government`s non-compliance notice.

Twitter reviews all government reports promptly and takes action, while ensuring it upholds free speech, the California-headquartered company said.

“We strongly believe that the open and free exchange of information has a positive global impact, and that the Tweets must continue to flow,” the Twitter spokeswoman said.

India`s IT ministry did not respond to a request for comment outside business hours.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Tom Hogue, Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Alex Richardson)



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