- Jack Dorsey said India raided homes of Twitter’s workers when the company refused to ban some accounts.
- Dorsey said India, the world’s biggest democracy, also threatened to shut Twitter down in the country.
- India’s information technology minister has since decried Dorsey’s claim as an “outright lie.”
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey said India’s government previously raided the homes of the company’s employees when the platform refused to comply with censorship demands.
Speaking on the podcast “Breaking Points” hosted on Tuesday by Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti, Dorsey recalled his dealings with powerful people attempting to influence Twitter’s operations while he still ran the company.
“India is a country that had many requests of us around the farmers’ protest, around particular journalists that were critical of the government,” Dorsey said. “And it manifested in ways such as: ‘We will shut, put her down in India,’ which is a very large market for us.”
“‘We will raid the homes of your employees,’ which they did,” Dorsey continued. “‘We will shut down your offices if you don’t follow suit.’ And this is India, a democratic country.”
Dorsey’s remarks come two years after Twitter began facing a wave of demands from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to clamp down on dissent and criticism on the platform.
One major incident involved the farmers’ protests in January 2021, when tens of thousands of farmers gathered in Delhi to object to agricultural laws. The Indian government asked Twitter to permanently ban accounts that were aggressively critical of the government, which the platform refused to do.
“In keeping with our principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action on accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians,” Twitter said in a statement then.
Tensions escalated further when the government issued a law in May 2021, which made tech companies and employees liable for prosecution and prison sentences if they refused takedown orders.
The same month, police in India raided Twitter’s office in Delhi and Gurgaon, as part of an investigation over the platform labeling an Indian minister’s tweets as “manipulated media.”
On Tuesday, India’s information technology minister, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, tweeted that Dorsey’s claim about Twitter employees’ homes being raided was an “outright lie.”
Accused Twitter of “partisan behavior,” Chadrasekhar said the platform had violated Indian law amid the local government’s attempt to quash misinformation.
Chandrasekhar did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent by Insider. Representatives for Dorsey’s company, Block, did not immediately respond to a similar request for Dorsey sent outside regular business hours.