Twitter, alongside Congress’s official handle, banned accounts of multiple Congress members. Party leader, Rahul Gandhi came out and spoke about the situation. He said, “They can lock us out on a platform but they can’t lock our voice for the sake of the people”.
MUMBAI, INDIA – Twitter since Thursday has been blocking out multiple Twitter accounts in India. Almost all the blocked accounts are those belonging to or supporting Congress and leader Rahul Gandhi. Twitter also went onto block Congress’s Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra handles. Furthermore, it blocked multiple senior members of the party from posting.
This caused an outrage amongst the supporters and the members of Congress. Party members came out and spoke in protest of Twitter, while also calling it out for being double standard. Congress leader termed this as “An attack on the democratic structure of the country”.
Story behind the banned accounts
It all started out on the 5th of August, when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi posted a photograph with the parents of a rape victim. The victim was a 9 year old girl, allegedly raped and killed in capital city, Delhi. Rahul’s tweet demanded justice for her. Rahul’s tweet had a good purpose. Twitter, however on Wednesday removed it and claimed that the tweet violated its policies. Twitter apart from removing the Tweet, also blocked Rahul from further tweets.
Twitter’s action against Rahul Gandhi, infuriated party members, who then heavily criticized Twitter. In protest against Twitter, Congress’s general secretary, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra changed her profile picture to that of the party leader. Congress Youth Chief, B.V. Srinivas’ moved a step ahead and even changed his display name to ‘Rahul Gandhi’.
Soon afterwards other members including Randeep Surjewala, K.C. Venugopal, Ajay Makena and Sushmita Dev and even Congress official accounts jumped onto Twitter and tweeted the same photo that got removed from Rahul’s account.
Twitter the following day started to ban all those making tweets and changing profile pictures in support of Rahul Gandhi. Congress claims that Twitter, not only banned important leaders, but also small profiles associated with the party.
Rahul Gandhi and his party’s criticism towards Twitter
Soon after being blocked by Twitter, Rahul Gandhi came out on Instagram and released a video that heavily criticizes Twitter’s actions against him. In his video Rahul said, “If fighting for justice for murder and rape victim is a crime, then I am guilty. They can lock us out on a platform but they can’t lock our voice for the sake of the people”.
Party members, alongside Rahul Gandhi also went onto call out Twitter for ‘Double Standards’. The party members did so because Twitter never banned the (National Commission for Scheduled Castes) NCSC, when it shared similar photos. Party members raised many concern towards Twitter only targeting Congress, while leaving others. Priyanka Gandhi, a party member questioned Twitter and said that Twitter is stifling with the democracy of India.
Twitter’s reaction to the ongoing protest
A spokesperson from Twitter came out and gave a detailed review about the decision by Twitter. The spokesperson revealed that Twitter was notified by NCSC about the Tweet since it revealed an assault victim identity. Upon reviewing the post Twitter found out that the photo goes against both the Indian Law and Twitter’s policies.
He further explained the situation saying, “We have taken proactive action on several hundred tweets that posted an image that violated our rules, and may continue to do so in line with our range of enforcement options”. He said that Twitter wants everyone on its platform to be familiarized with its rules and report anything they believe is in violation.