The Centre on Wednesday told Parliament that as many as 9,849 accounts across social media platforms were blocked in 2020, almost a three-fold increase than those blocked in 2019.

The information was shared by the ministry of electronics and information technology in Lok Sabha after Congress MP, Mohammad Faizal P.P sought to know year-wise details of the number of blocked accounts on social media platforms under Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act since 2014.

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“…Government has directed for blocking of 471, 500, 633, 1,385, 2,799, 3,635 and 9,849 number of Accounts/URLs during the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively,” the ministry said.

Hindustan Times reported that Section 69A of the IT Act allows the Centre to block public access to an intermediary “in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to above”.

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“Over 9,000 accounts were blocked in a year when things were particularly less active in terms of public demonstrations, which are legitimate and allowed in our democracy,” Raman Jit Singh Chima, senior international counsel and the Asia Pacific Policy director at Access Now, a think-tank, said.