Twitter on Saturday, 5 June, removed the blue tick badge from the personal handle of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, before restoring it.
"The personal account of Venkaiah Naidu was inactive for six months and the blue badge has gone," an official from the vice president's office was quoted as saying by news agency ANI before it was restored.
The last tweet from Naidu's personal account was posted on 23 July 2020. Meanwhile, the vice president's official account is active and tweets regularly.
Meanwhile, a Twitter spokesperson told ANI that the said account has been inactive since July 2020 and as per the social media giant’s verification policy, “Twitter may remove the blue verified badge and verified status if the account becomes inactive. The badge has been restored.”
Further, the accounts of some of the prominent leaders of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which were reportedly verified before, did not have a “verified” badge anymore. They include Mohan Bhagwat, Suresh Joshi, Suresh Soni, Krishna Gopal and Arun Kumar.
Later in the day, however, the blue verification badge of RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat and other RSS key functionaries, including Krishna Gopal, were restored.
What Does the Twitter Policy Say?
"The blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic. To receive the blue badge, your account must be authentic, notable and active," Twitter states regarding verified accounts.
"You may lose your badge if you change your account name (@handle), if your account becomes inactive or incomplete, or if you are no longer in the position you initially were verified for – such as an elected government official who leaves office – and you do not otherwise meet our criteria for verification. We may also remove the blue badge from accounts that are found to be in severe or repeated violation of the Twitter Rules," the microblogging platform further states.
The removal and subsequent restoration of the badge for the vice president’s accounts comes at a time when Twitter is locked in a controversy with the Centre over the new IT Rules, as well as a row over ‘toolkit tweets’, in which the posts of some BJP leaders were labelled as ‘manipulated media’.
‘Assault on Constitution of India’: BJP Leader
Reacting to the development, BJP Mumbai’s spokesperson, Suresh Nakhua questioned Twitter on removing the “verified” badge from Naidu’s personal handle and said: “This is assault of Constitution of India. (sic)”
Other social media users questioned Twitter’s “unfair practices”.
Meanwhile, Sam Jawed, co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News pointed out that Twitter removes blue ticks from inactive accounts and that the Vice President hadn’t tweeted from his personal account since July 2020.
Further, some questioned the inactivity of a Twitter account being the reason behind removal of “verified” badge as they pointed out the “verified” accounts of late Congress leader Ahmed Patel and late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
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