X blocks India election posts after takedown orders

Published : 17 Apr 2024 09:52 PM

Social media platform X has blocked several posts in India containing political speech after authorities ordered their takedown ahead of a six-week general election that starts Friday.

X, owned by Tesla boss Elon Musk and formerly known as Twitter, said the posts would be withheld from Indian audiences until the election was over despite its disagreement with the order.

"In compliance with the orders, we have withheld these posts for the remainder of the election period," X said in a statement posted to the platform late Tuesday.

"However, we disagree with these actions and maintain that freedom of expression should extend to these posts and political speech in general."

The posts by elected politicians, political parties and candidates made unverified claims about the private lives of their opponents, which India's election commission said violated its code of conduct.

The platform's announcement of its compliance with the order came the same day X's Brazilian office said it would abide by a court direction to block disinformation-spreading users in that country.

Musk had earlier threatened to disregard the Brazilian court's order.

The billionaire is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India this month to discuss major investment plans in the country.

India, the world's biggest democracy, regularly ranks among the top five countries globally for the number of requests made by a government to remove social media content.