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Indian government warns Twitter over not censoring tweets

While Facebook and Google are working with the Indian government to remove certain content that might incite violence in the northeast of the country, Twitter has kept mum on the issue.

India's government is instigating a full-fledged crackdown on social networks and various Web sites. After working with Facebook and Google to censor content, it's now clamping down on Twitter.

If Twitter doesn't go along with the government's demands of censorship, it may face legal action, according to The Times of India.

Here's what the Times of India wrote in an article today:

...a senior government official has said that Twitter has already been told that legal action may be taken against it as it had failed to cooperate with the Indian government in its efforts to find the source of and curtail the inflammatory messages against northeast citizens.

These requests for censorship come after India accused Pakistan of spreading threats through social-media outlets and SMS messages after recent violence between Muslims and indigenous communities in northeast India that left at least 78 people dead.

Reportedly, because of this violence, the Indian government blocked more than 150 Web sites and restricted SMS over the weekend, and on Monday blocked 245 more Web pages.

The government's goal in going after Web sites and social networks is supposedly to prevent any additional threatening messages that could incite more violence.

According to The Wall Street Journal, both Google and Facebook said today that they are working with the Indian government to remove any "inflammatory and hateful content" from their Web sites. Facebook said it will take down content that "breaches" its rules, and Google told the Journal, "We understand the gravity of the situation...and continue to work closely with relevant authorities."

Twitter announced in January that it would be willing to remove tweets on a country-by-country basis when there are local restrictions against content in the tweets, and when a country requires the tweets to be taken down. It said that users send 1 billion tweets every four days and therefore it wouldn't be filtering out certain tweets, but rather acting reactively to government requests.

It remains to be seen whether Twitter views the Indian government's requests as fitting in with these guidelines.

CNET contacted Twitter for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.