The Centre on Wednesday told Parliament it had blocked 9,849 social media accounts across platforms in 2020. The number is more than double from 2019 when 3,653 users were blocked.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology shared the information in a written reply to a question by Congress MP Faizal PP Mohammed during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament.

Mohammed sought to know details of the number of accounts blocked on social media platforms under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act since 2014.

The provision empowers the government to request social media platforms to block user accounts if the information shared by them is against the country’s interest.

The Centre said in its reply that the government had directed 471 accounts to be blocked in 2014, 500 in 2015, 633 in 2016, 1,385 in 2017, 2,799 in 2018, 3,635 in 2019 and 9,849 in 2020.

It added that the accounts were blocked based on requests received from nodal officers of ministries.

Mohammed also requested the Centre to provide the reason for the blocking of Twitter accounts of organisations like Caravan magazine and KisanEktaMorcha. He specifically asked if these accounts were suspended because they supported the farmers’ protests.

In February, the Centre had asked for more than 250 accounts to be blocked, including those of journalists, politicians and activists who had supported the farmers’ protest. The Bharatiya Janata Party was widely criticised for its actions then.