Technology

Twitter will not ban official accounts without informing government

After two months-long negotiations, twitter has finally agreed to alert the government of Pakistan before banning the official accounts. The decision came after Pakistan’s objection on the ban of 300 accounts for posting content about Kashmir.

After India imposed curfew in Kashmir, several twitter users from Pakistan complained of suspension of their accounts for posting about the issue. Out of 300 suspended accounts, most of them were journalists, government officials and social media activists highlighting the human rights violation in the occupied valley.

Suspension of Twitter accounts made #StopSuspendingPakistanis trending hashtag on Twitter in Pakistan. People individually started protesting to micro-blogging website against the biased crackdown. The government of Pakistan then specified about 200 accounts and approached Twitter.

National IT Board chairman Shabahat Ali Shah wrote a letter to vice president of Twitter, Del Harvey on Aug 19. In the letter, he raised the concern of the government of Pakistan over the shut down of accounts without prior notice.

He asked them to bring the objectionable content to the government’s notice before suspending the account. He also added that “At least government accounts should not be suspended without prior notice to the authorities. The government, too, will document content posted through official channels and review complaints lodged against them.”

Shabahat Ali Shah announced the news of the verbal agreement with twitter in his tweet,

He said that the agreement is verbal because twitter is not a local company so they are not bound to follow Pakistani laws. He claimed that at least 200 banned Twitter handles belonging to the government officials have been restored.

He also pointed out that the agreement applied to specified accounts only and not to all Pakistani users. He added, “A cadence has been developed such that next time, those accounts which have been verified by Pakistani authorities (and a list of which will be provided by the Government of Pakistan to Twitter), will not be suspended unilaterally.”

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