Dear Commissioner Bassi, Think Twice Before Tweeting

We would like to request Delhi Police Commissioner Bhimsen Bassi to learn something from the NSA’s Twitter policy.

Updated
India
2 min read
Delhi Police personal cracking down on protesters (Photo Courtesy: Sanghapali Aruna Kornana’s Facebook)

Delhi Police has turned out to be not-so-smar​t, when it comes to handling its social media presence. They should definitely learn something from the US NSA.

(Photo: Screengrab of Twitter/NSA/CSS)
(Photo: Screengrab of Twitter/NSA/CSS)

NSA’s Twitter bio has a link to a terms and condition page to avoid reflection of the department’s policy.

It says, “The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Unites States Government, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.”

Now, let us check what Delhi Police is doing on Twitter. The handle @DelhiPolice does not carry any such link which says that their tweets do not reflect the department’s policy or of the Indian government.

Delhi Police recently posted pictures carrying a tweet from JuD chief Hafiz Saeed to alert and sensitise the student community at JNU and across the country to avoid abetting anti-national activities, as they are punishable offences. The alert also asks to be retweeted in national interest.

In this tweet, Saeed has allegedly asked his Pakistani brothers to trend #SupportJNU for his pro-Pakistani JNU brothers.

The Facts

First, this tweet originated from a fake twitter account. As per Pakistani newspaper Dawn, the original @HafizSaeedJuD account was suspended on 8 February 2014.

As soon as the tweet was posted, some digital and print media outlets put out reports in haste, without investigating its authenticity and evaluating the risk of spreading rumours.

(Photo: Screengrab of deleted news story of IBN7)
(Photo: Screengrab of deleted news story of IBN7)

Later, these stories were trashed, without even rendering any apology to their readers.

Responsible Social Media Presence

(Photo: Screenshot of Dainik Jagran Print Story)
(Photo: Screenshot of Dainik Jagran Print Story)

Delhi Police used this tweet to sensitise student communities in JNU and across India without investigating the legitimacy of the content. The Twitter account stated in the alert is clearly fake. The account was suspended way before Delhi Police quoted it.

Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi’s Twitter bio doesn’t say that the views shared through the handle are personal. In this case, how fair it is for a police commissioner to share his personal thoughts through an official media outlet?

At the end, it is advisable for all government social media handling agencies or officials to think twice before hitting the tweet button.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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