India, Turkey, Nigeria threatened to shut Twitter down, says Jack Dorsey

The social media company was targeted for not complying with the instructions of restricting accounts by the governments in power.
Ameya Paleja
Twitter under Dorsey faced shut down threats in many countries
Twitter under Dorsey faced shut down threats in many countries

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India, Turkey, and Nigeria were among the countries Twitter founder Jack Dorsey listed when asked about pressures faced by his former social media company, Twitter, while he was in charge of the affairs. Dorsey made the comments during an interview with Breaking Points.

Although not a commercial success like Facebook or Instagram, Twitter has played a crucial part in spreading the message when it comes to protests against regimes or even calling out individuals during movements such as #MeToo.

However, this role of the platform has also drawn the ire of those in power, and Twitter found itself on the receiving end of threats of the shutdown of offices as well as raids at employees' homes, Dorsey said in the interview.

Pressures on Twitter

Dorsey elaborated that Twitter was under pressure from the government in India at the height of the farmers' protests and was ordered to suspend hundreds of accounts and curtail the visibility of certain hashtags in 2021. Farmers were protesting against new laws introduced by the government, which were later repealed.

Accounts earmarked for suspension largely supported the farmers' protests and included some journalists, Dorsey added. The Twitter founder highlighted that he was surprised to witness this since India was the world's largest democracy.

The Indian government has previously denied these claims and said it was only focused on restricting posts that threatened peace and security, Reuters said in its report.

Dorsey recalled that Turkey also had a high number of requests, which the company challenged in court and won, including a temporary ban on the platform in 2014. Even after that, the government constantly threatened to shut down the site.

Nigeria suspended the site in 2021, and the platform did not have employees in the country out of fear of the Nigerian government.

India's response

With Dorsey's comments going viral, the Indian government has once again defended its stance and highlighted that the site was never shut down, nor were any employees sent to jail.

The country's deputy federal minister for information technology, however, has countered Dorsey's claims by stating that the social media site was in "repeated and continuous violation" of Indian laws. The minister claimed that between 2020 and 2022, the company did not comply with India's laws, and Dorsey and his team had a "problem accepting the sovereignty of Indian law."

The government's rebuttal also claims that Twitter failed to remove misinformation from its platform in India, while it did so proactively for similar events in the U.S. The minister was referring to fake reports of genocide, which it wanted to be removed from the site, and was of the view that it had the potential to further inflame the situation, a local media report said.

While a response from Dorsey on this is now unlikely, Twitter sued the Indian government and took the matter to court, alleging "abuse of power" over arbitrary and disproportionate removal of tweets over its platform.