#cancelallBlueTicksinIndia Trends As Twitter Faces Caste Storm
The Twitter hashtag #cancelallBlueTicksinIndia has been the top trend on the micro-blogging platform on Wednesday, 6 November. With over 54,000 tweets, the trend surfaced in connection with allegations of Twitter encouraging caste discrimination by suppressing the voices of the marginalised.
Twitter has received a lot of flak since Saturday and several users are protesting on the website using hashtags such as #CasteistTwitter, #TwitterHatesSCSTOBCMuslims, and #BrahmanicalTwitter.
The protests began after Twitter imposed restrictions on the account of Dilip Mandal, an adjunct professor at Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication and a consulting editor at a news website. His suspension was considered, especially by users from marginalised communities, as oppression of the underprivileged castes and minorities at the hands of the micro-blogging platform.
Talking to The Quint, Mandal said he’d tweeted about a booklet in March where he had mentioned the author’s contact details – earning himself the suspension of his account due to “violation of privacy”. However, Mandal said he’d posted the details in question with the author’s permission.
He further said that Twitter follows a system whereby some voices are silenced and some promoted. “We don’t know what process Twitter follows for verifying people since it is not very transparent. But it creates a hierarchy in the conversation.”
He cited the example of Anand Kumar, philanthropist and teacher from Bihar whose account was not verified even after he won an award and a film on him was made.
Some on Twitter also pointed out that accounts of the likes of Hansraj Meena, who is the founder of Tribal Army and has over 26,000 followers, don’t have a ‘verified’ profile.
In a statement to IANS, a Twitter spokesperson said the platform's “commitment to inclusion and diversity is fundamental to who we are at Twitter and crucial to the effectiveness of our service.”
Denying the allegations, the Twitter spokesperson said it has “one set of Twitter Rules”.
“To make it clear, we have one set of Twitter Rules and we enforce our policies judiciously and impartially for all individuals – regardless of their political beliefs, religious ideology, professional position or background,” the spokesperson added.
“We have ongoing efforts to provide local market context when developing and enforcing our global policies. We extensively cover gender and religion (including caste) in our trainings, to provide reviewers with the local context they need to evaluate content. Our Hateful Conduct Policy prohibits behaviour that targets individuals based on protected categories (including caste),” the spokesperson stated.
‘Curious Case of Jay Shah’s Verified Twitter Account’
Many also pointed out that Home Minister Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah’s Twitter account is verified even though he has fewer followers than a lot of activists fighting against caste discrimination in the nation.