Government looking for options to block social media sites in India

  • The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) asked internet service providers (ISPs) for suggestions on how to block social media sites.
  • Such measures would only be enforced under Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000.
  • This would allow the government to block the public at large for social media when national security or public order are at risk.
After the central government withdrew their tender for putting together a social media communications hub, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is now looking into ways to block social media sites under Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000.

This would allow the government to block the public at large from social media sites if national security or public order are under threat. Industry representatives claim that such a step would only harm India’s reputation while also violating the fundamental right of speech and expression.

In a letter to leading telcos and internet service providers (ISPs) including Idea Cellular Ltd, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, the DoT asked for what options were available implement such a directive under the relevant circumstances.


This isn’t the first time that the DoT has sent out for industry insight on the matter. An earlier letter was send on 28 June followed by a reminder on 3 August.

It was only recently that internet services were blocked in Rajasthan as a precautionary measure against cheating in government examinations while incidents of internet shut down are more prevalent in Kashmir.

What does Section 69A of the IT Act mean?

This section of the IT Act gives the government the power to issues direction for blocking public access of any kind of information through an computer resource. It can be enforced in cases where national security or public order are volatile.

It’s the same law that allows for blocking websites in India. Right now, the DoT sends directions to specific ISPs to block a site backed by a court order or a directive from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

But, the problem of fake news isn’t limited to a particular site but to the virality of social media posts. An edited education video circulating on WhatsApp caused mob fury and led to numerous deaths across the country. The increasing rate of such incidences has the government actively looking for solutions to counter the epidemic.

Infact, WhatsApp was issued two notices in lieu of being used as the middle-man to spread misinformation by the government of India. The corrective measures put in place by the messaging service included tagging forwarded messages and limiting the amount of messages that a user can forward at one go.