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'Attack on Democratic Structure': Rahul Gandhi as Twitter Locks Cong Accounts

Meanwhile, Twitter has maintained that its rules are "enforced judiciously and impartially for everyone".

Updated
Politics
3 min read

A day after Twitter locked the accounts of the Congress party and a number of its leaders, Rahul Gandhi on Friday, 13 August, posted a video on YouTube registering his protest against the action, for which the party has inculpated the BJP.

"This is an attack on the democratic structure of the country," Gandhi can be heard saying in the video titled, "Twitter's dangerous game".

However, responding to the row over the locking of accounts, Twitter has maintained that Twitter Rules are "enforced judiciously and impartially for everyone" on the platform.

"By shutting down my Twitter, they're interfering in our political process. A company is making its business to define our politics. And as a politician, I don't like that."
Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi further asserted that he did not see Twitter's locking of his account merely as an attack on himself, but also on his followers. "This is not simply shutting Rahul Gandhi down. I have 19-20 million followers. You're denying them the right to an opinion."

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"Democracy is under attack. We're not allowed to speak in the Parliament. The media is controlled. And I thought there was a ray of light, where I could put what we thought on Twitter," he said, adding that Twitter's locking of accounts breaches the idea of it being a neutral platform.

Gandhi further alleged that "Twitter is a biased platform" that listens to what the government of the day says.

WHAT HAD HAPPENED?

On Thursday, 12 August, Twitter locked the Congress party's official handle, a day after it locked accounts of some senior party leaders, including Randeep Singh Surjewala, Ajay Maken, Manickam Tagore, Jitendra Singh Alwar, and Sushmita Dev.

Congress member Praveen Chakravarty was also locked out of his Twitter account after he expressed his support for Gandhi.

The Congress posted screenshots of a message received on their account. The message from Twitter showed that the social media platform had taken the said action because the account had "violated Twitter Rules regarding publishing or posting other people's private information without their express authorisation and permission".

Others who faced similar restrictions on Twitter include Jitendra Singh Alwar, Ponnam Prabhakar, Harish Singh Rawat, Ganesh Godiyal, Pranav Jha, Pawan Khera, Rohan Gupta, Anil Kumar Chaudhary, Ripun Bora, Madan Mohan Jha and Rajani Patil, according to a report by The Indian Express.

Rahul Gandhi's own Twitter account was locked after he shared a photograph of the parents of the nine-year-old Dalit girl who was allegedly raped, killed, and forcibly cremated in the national capital on 1 August.

Twitter told the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, 11 August, that they had taken the action for his tweet, which went against the social media platform's policy.

The party has pointed fingers at the BJP, suggesting its involvement in the Twitter action.

WHAT HAS TWITTER SAID?

Twitter has denied any influence and said that their rules are enforced "judiciously and impartially".

"We have taken proactive action on several hundred of tweets that posted an image that violated our Rules, and may continue to do so in line with our range of enforcement options," the social media platform told The Quint.

It added that some private information are high risk and said that Twitter's aim is "always to protect individuals’ privacy and safety".

Sources earlier said that if a tweet violates Twitter's Rules and has not been deleted by the holder of the account, the platform hides it behind a notice. Meanwhile, the account is locked till the said tweet is deleted or the appeal is processed.

Twitter had been alerted by NCPCR about the tweet in question.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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