Twitter has been “unwittingly complicit” in curbing free speech in India, senior Congress chief Rahul Gandhi wrote to the corporate’s CEO Parag Agrawal final month, alleging a authorities marketing campaign to suppress his attain on the platform, based on a letter seen by NDTV.
In a letter dated December 27 that included an evaluation of knowledge from his Twitter account in addition to comparisons with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Residence Minister Amit Shah and Congress chief Shashi Tharoor, Mr Gandhi stated that whereas he added a median of about 4 lakh followers for the primary seven months of 2021, the expansion got here to an abrupt halt for a number of months following an eight-day suspension in August final yr.
In the identical interval, different politicians maintained their new followers’ rely.
“Maybe not so coincidentally, it was exactly throughout these months that I raised the plight of a rape sufferer’s household in Delhi, stood in solidarity with farmers and fought the federal government on many different human rights points. In truth, a video of mine that promised farmers that the three notorious farm legal guidelines will probably be repealed is among the many most watched video on Twitter posted by any political chief in India in current instances,” Mr Gandhi wrote.
“I’ve been reliably, albeit discreetly, knowledgeable by individuals at Twitter India that they’re beneath immense strain by the federal government to silence my voice. My account was even blocked for just a few days for no reliable cause. There have been many different Twitter handles, together with Authorities ones, which had tweeted related images of the identical individuals. None of these accounts have been blocked. My account was singularly focused,” he added.
“I’m writing to you on behalf of greater than a billion Indians to not enable Twitter to turn out to be a pawn within the destruction of the concept of India,” Mr Gandhi stated.
A Twitter spokesperson quoted by The Wall Avenue Journal declined to touch upon Mr Gandhi’s accusations however stated that follower counts fluctuate as the corporate makes use of machine studying to fight spam and manipulation, including that thousands and thousands of accounts are eliminated every week for violating Twitter’s insurance policies in opposition to actions akin to malicious automation.
The Congress, nevertheless, rejected the reason with Srivatsa YB, in command of digital communication for Mr Gandhi’s workplace, telling the newspaper, “That is neither a totally explanatory nor a passable response… The chronology of occasions doesn’t corroborate Twitter’s claims.”
Twitter and different social networking platforms like Fb have confronted rising scrutiny in India and the corporate had final yr flagged “the potential risk to freedom of expression” within the nation and “using intimidation ways by the police” at top a conflict with the federal government over its new guidelines for the sector. The assertion was prompted by a go to by the Delhi Police to its places of work over a political row involving the Congress and the federal government.
Learn the complete letter right here:
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