As the outbreak spreads, India orders serious social media posts to be taken down


NEW DELHI – With Kovid-19 sweeping across India and destroying life-threatening oxygen in short supply, the Indian government on Sunday said it has published dozens of social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to tackle its epidemic. Justified.

The order was targeted at around 100 posts, which included critics from opposition politicians and called on Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to resign. The government said the posts could provoke panic, make images out of context, and hinder the response to the epidemic.

The companies complied with today’s requests, making posts invisible to users using sites inside India. In the past, companies have remodeled some material after determining that it did not break the law.

Takedown orders emerge politically as India’s public health crisis spirals, and sets the stage for a broader conflict between American social media platforms and Mr. Modi’s government, which decides what to say online can go.

On Sunday, the country reported more than 349,691 new infections and 2,767 deaths, making it a world record in daily infection data for the fourth consecutive day, although experts have warned that the exact number Probably too many. The country now accounts for about half of all new cases globally. Its health system looks sharp. Hospitals across the country have scrambled To get enough oxygen For the patients.

In New Delhi, hospitals this weekend turned away patients after they ran out of oxygen and beds. Last week, at least 22 patients died in a hospital in Nashik city after their oxygen supply was shut down after the leak.

Online pictures of bodies on plywood hospital beds and countless photographs of highly functioning crematoriums have gone viral. Desperate patients and their families have pleaded with the government for help, scaring international audiences.

Sunday evening, in one of the many pleas for help on social media, Ajay Koli Took to Twitter to find an oxygen cylinder in Delhi for his mother who, he said, tested positive 10 days ago. Mr. Collie said he lost his father on Saturday. “I don’t want to lose my mother anymore.”

Mr. Modi has been attacked for ignoring the advice of experts RESTRICTIONS OF RESTRICTIONS, Later he organized very few political rallies for social distance. Now some material offline in India highlighted the contradiction, using lurid images to contrast Mr Modi’s rallies with funeral flames.

In a radio address on Sunday, Mr. Modi tried to draw a result. He said a “storm” of infection shook the country. “

“At this time, to win this battle, we have to prioritize experts and scientific advice,” he said.

A tweet removed from the scene was posted by Moloy Ghatak, a Labor minister in the opposition-ruled West Bengal state, where Mr Modi’s party is expected to make big gains in the ongoing election. Mr. Ghatak accused Mr. Modi of “mismanagement” and blamed him directly for the deaths. His tweet featured pictures of Mr Modi and his election rallies next to the crematorium and compared him to Nero, the Roman emperor, in which he chose to hold political ceremonies and export vaccines during the “health crisis”.

Another tweet by Revanth Reddy, a sitting member of Parliament, used a hashtag in which Mr Modi was blamed for the “disaster”. “India records over 2 lakh cases per day,” it uses an Indian numbering unit, which means 200,000 cases. “Lack of vaccines, shortage of drugs, increasing number of deaths.”

New steps to muzzle online speech Deepen a conflict Between American social media platforms and Mr. Modi’s government. Both sides have pushed the police in recent months with a more strict police force by the government of India. What’s called online, A policy that critics say is being used to silence opponents of the government.

“This has been a trend that has been implemented with increasing frequency and seriousness for the online media space,” said Apar Gupta, executive director of the Digital Freedom Foundation, a digital rights group. He said the orders were being used to “cause censorship” under the guise of making social media companies more accountable.

The battle to control horrific images and online fury over a horrific public health catastrophe is just one front World wide conflict. Governments around the world are trying to rein in the power of the largest tech companies such as Twitter and Facebook, whose policies have a far greater political impact than their California headquarters. In best cases, government efforts to remove misinformation from other motivations such as tilting the online debate in favor of a political party can be difficult to disrupt.

While companies want to think about policies that they say are based on the principles of free speech, their responses to governmental power plays are inconsistent and often based on commercial pragmatism. In Myanmar, Facebook cut trade ties with military-linked accounts on violence against protesters. In China, Facebook does brisk business with state-backed media groups that have been busy denying widespread internment of ethnic minorities, which the United States has labeled a genocide.

In India, companies face a strong choice: follow laws and risk suppressing political debate, or face harsh penalties, including jail time for local employees in a potentially huge growth market.

Skirmishes on online speeches are becoming common in India. Government of India controlled by Shri Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party has become Aggressive on fast dissenting stuffing. It has arrested activists and journalists, and pressured media organizations to get on its line. It has stopped using mobile internet in troubled areas. Following the deadlock with China, it blocked many apps owned by Chinese companies.

In February, Twitter threatened to arrest its employees in front of the government, and blocked 500 accounts after the government accused it of making inflammatory remarks about Mr. Modi. However, Twitter refused to delete the accounts of many journalists and politicians, pointing out that the orders to block them were not in line with Indian law.

In a statement on Sunday, the Indian government said that this targeted post “spread fake or misleading information” and “used unrelated, outdated and out-of-the-box images or visuals and caused panic about the Kovid-19 situation in India.” . ” It pointed to photographs in several posts stating that it was of bodies related to the recent outbreak.

In an email statement, Twitter said that if the content is “determined to be illegal in a particular jurisdiction, but not a violation of Twitter’s rules, then we can only prevent access to the content in India,” in that case It will notify users. . Facebook did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The removal reduced the amount of widespread anger online.

“If the majority of citizens are using every single instrument, then they have to organize hospital beds, oxygen and logistic support and dear what exactly is the Indian government doing?” wrote Mahua Moitra, a politician and MP from West Bengal.

Aftab Alam, a professor at the University of Delhi, was more direct.

“Because you know tweets are easy to unload to ensure oxygen supply,” He wrote on twitter.

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