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Twitter removes tweets critical of Indian government's COVID-19 response

Cases are surging in the country, and many are criticizing the government's handling of the pandemic.

The Indian government reportedly asked Twitter to censor tweets critical of its response to COVID-19.
Image by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

Twitter has taken down dozens of tweets at the request of the Indian government that were critical of its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, as cases in that country surge.

The Indian government sent Twitter an emergency order on Friday to remove 52 tweets, according to a notice posted on the Lumen Database, which publishes legal takedown requests. The tweets came from accounts belonging to a member of India's Parliament, two filmmakers, an actor and a West Bengal state minister, according to Indian news site MediaNama, which earlier reported the news.

India is suffering through its second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Sunday, the country reported 349,691 new infections and 2,767 deaths, the fourth consecutive day the country has set a world record for daily infections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has been criticized as being unprepared to handle the crisis, with many critics calling for his resignation.

Twitter said it notified account holders before withholding the content.

"When we receive a valid legal request, we review it under both the Twitter Rules and local law. If the content violates Twitter's Rules, the content will be removed from the service," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. "If it is determined to be illegal in a particular jurisdiction, but not in violation of the Twitter Rules, we may withhold access to the content in India only. In all cases, we notify the account holder directly so they're aware that we've received a legal order pertaining to the account."