Tractors of farmers parked at the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu border on Monday. (PTI)

By Aditi Agrawal

The ministry of electronics and information technology (Meity) finalised its emergency blocking orders against 177 social media accounts and links related to the farmers’ protests on Monday to maintain “public order”.

The emergency orders were issued at the request of the ministry of home affairs last week. These were in addition to the final orders issued on February 14.

Both sets of final blocking orders — issued on February 19 and 14 — are conditional, interim orders and have been issued for the duration of the agitation after which the social media platforms can restore the visibility of the accounts and channels in India. This is not the first time that such temporary Section 69A blocking orders have been issued as protests rage, HT has learnt.

Monday’s orders have been issued against 35 Facebook links, 35 Facebook accounts, 14 Instagram accounts, 42 Twitter accounts, 49 Twitter links, 1 Snapchat account and 1 Reddit account. While orders to Facebook and Twitter (now X) are commonplace, this is the first blocking order issued to Snap. No blocking orders were issued against YouTube channels or videos in the latest tranche.

In the meeting of the Section 69A blocking committee on Monday, representatives from Meta (for both Facebook and Instagram), Twitter and Snap appeared. Nobody from Reddit appeared.

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