India orders social media giants to take down posts critical of pandemic response
India’s government has ordered social media giants like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to remove dozens of posts criticizing its response to the second wave of COVID-19 cases that is overwhelming the country’s resources and hospital system.
Around 100 posts were targeted by the government’s orders, with some posts from opposition politicians criticizing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also taken down, The New York Times reports. The government said the posts could incite panic and hinder the pandemic response.
Parliament member Revanth Reddy, who criticized Modi for the “disaster,” wrote one of the posts that was taken down.
“Shortage of vaccines, shortage of medicines, increasing number of deaths,” he wrote.
The Times notes that the social media companies appear to have complied with the order.
The Hill has reached out to Twitter and Facebook for comment.
India is battling an enormous wave of new coronavirus cases across the country. More than 350,000 new cases were confirmed on Monday, according to the Times, though health experts have warned that the reported numbers are likely lower than actual infections.
Many hospitals are lacking badly needed oxygen, with some resorting to tweeting the federal government for aid.
The Times notes that Modi has garnered harsh criticism for appearing to disregard advice from health experts and holding large political rallies with little to no social distancing.
On Sunday, the United States and the European Union committed to providing supplies and aid to India.
“Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need,” National Security Council spokesperson Emile Horne said.
Many have called on the U.S. to lift export controls on raw materials needed to manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is approved for use in India but not in the U.S., as well as donate the AstraZeneca vaccines it currently holds.
India has surpassed Brazil as the second-worst COVID-19-affected country in the world, behind only the U.S. According to the World Health Organization, India has confirmed more than 17.3 million coronavirus cases and nearly 200,000 deaths.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.