In a new interview, Twitter creator and co-founder Jack Dorsey claimed that the Indian government, led by Narendra Modi, attempted to force Twitter to shut its doors in the country.

Dorsey, who quit as chief executive of the social media platform in 2021, discussed the situation on YouTube news show Breaking Points, explaining that there was an issue with specific posts around the Indian farmers protests in 2020-2021. Dorsey said the country wanted posts by certain journalists who were “critical of the government” removed.

“It manifested in ways such as: ‘We will shut Twitter down in India,’ which is a very large market for us,” he said. “‘We will raid the homes of your employees,’ which they did. ‘We will shut down your offices if you don’t follow suit.’ And this is India, a democratic country.”

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s deputy minister for information technology, refuted Dorsey’s claims on Twitter this morning, calling them an “outright lie.” He said that Dorsey and his team “were in repeated [and] continuous violations of India law. As a matter of fact they were in non-compliance with law repeatedly from 2020 to 2022 and it was only June 2022 when they finally complied.”

He continued, “No one went to jail nor was twitter ‘shutdown.’ Dorsey’s Twitter regime had a problem accepting the sovereignty of Indian law. It behaved as if the laws of India did not apply to it… To set the record straight, no one was raided or sent to jail. Our focus was only on ensuring the compliance of Indian laws.”

The farmers protests were sparked by the introduction of new agriculture laws. In 2021, Modi’s government sought an “emergency blocking” of the “provocative” Twitter hashtag #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide, as well as numerous accounts.

Twitter initially complied with the government requests, but restored most of the accounts only hours later. At the time, the platform cited “insufficient justification” for the removal. Police subsequently visited a Twitter office in India, leading to concern for employee safety. The farmers protests were ultimately successful, with the government giving in to their demands.


Elsewhere in his interview, Dorsey mentioned similar pressure from governments in Turkey and Nigeria. Both countries have restricted the platform at various points over the years before lifting the bans. Dorsey noted that he was “surprised at the level of engagement and requests” by world governments to censor content.

Elon Musk, who purchased Twitter in 2022, was asked about the situation with India during an interview with the BBC earlier this year. “The rules in India for what can appear on social media are quite strict, and we can’t go beyond the laws of a country,” Musk said. “If we have a choice of either our people go to prison, or we comply with the laws, we’ll comply with the laws.”