Indian government blocks Facebook, Twitter accounts over hate messages

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Videos depicting violence against Muslims caused panic in Northeast India and prompted a social media crackdown from India’s Home Ministry.

The Indian government has taken action to block more than 150 websites and Facebook, Twitter, and Google accounts following a string of hate messages directed at those in the northeast region of the country.

The accounts and pages were said to incite violence, display inflammatory and hateful content, and spread rumors, which caused panic among people in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, according to The Times of India. The government said that most of the content emanated from Pakistan.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde asked Rehman Malik, his Pakistani counterpart, to take action against those who were using Facebook and Twitter to spread hateful messages among Indians.

The Home Ministry issued a report claiming that a group based in Pakistan was apparently altering images and sharing them online to cause panic among people living in the north east of India. Videos depicting violence against Muslims apparently caused the panic.

To clamp down on the spread of rumors, the government imposed a 15-day ban on bulk SMS and MMS messages.

Back in December, India asked big-name companies like Google and Facebook to screen user-generated content before citizens in the country can view it. Google instituted country-specific versions of Blogger in February, allowing it to remove content which violates laws in certain regions, while allowing it to remain online in the rest of the world.

Photo of Shinde via YouTube

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