Indian authorities have reportedly given an ultimatum to US social media platforms, threatening jail time for their local employees if the companies continue to ignore official takedown requests against “damaging” information.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have each received written notices warning their employees could face arrest should the requests be ignored, in some cases citing specific India-based staff by name, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing “people familiar” with the matter.

The reported warnings come as New Delhi faces down Big Tech platforms amid a wave of heated protests over controversial agricultural bills, which have drawn thousands of farmers to rally in the Indian capital, at times descending to violent clashes with security forces. While the government has long wrangled with the social media platforms, the threats of arrest mark a sharp escalation of pressure.

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In early February, Twitter blocked access to a litany of accounts for Indian users, among them lawmakers, news outlets, journalists and political commentators. Though the platform quietly reversed those bans some 12 hours later, AFP reporter Bhuvan Bagga, citing a government source, noted the move followed an order from India’s IT ministry to block hundreds of accounts it accused of spreading “factually incorrect” claims and “inflaming passions” around the farmer protests. (RT)