Mastodon Social, the social networking platform which recently gained popularity in India for being ‘fair’ and ‘free of censorship’ has suspended Assam Police’s account after users reported that they were feeling ‘unsafe’ by presence of police on social media platform. Mastodon told Assam Police they’re not welcome as it wants the community to feel ‘safe and secured’.
A Mastodon moderator reportedly posted that the platform has decided not to allow police on their platform as it did not want the platform to be used for ‘official communication’. This suspension of official police account by a social media platform comes close on the heels of reports that various terror organisations are increasingly using the internet and social media to spread propaganda.
As reported by Indian Express, Assam Police was reaching out on Mastodon with cyber safety message for children which apparently violated Mastodon’s code of conduct. “The way our account was suspended has left us bewildered and makes us wonder about the intentions of the space,” Assam Police official told the Indian Express.
There have been numerous reports in recent times suggesting that terror organisations across the world are increasingly using social media to recruit and spread propaganda. Other than ISIS which has made use of social media successfully to even inspire and train ‘lone wolves’, Palestine and Lebanon-based terror organisations like Hamas and Hezbollah have used platforms such as Facebook and YouTube to release propaganda as well as beheading videos to ‘send a message’ and issue threats.
An Interpol report says that terrorists use social media for radicalisation, recruitment, funding, planning and execution of terrorist activities. In fact, Interpol is using social media extensively as well to identify potential witnesses to support investigations.
At a time when security agencies are looking at social media platforms to counter terror networks, Mastodon has suspended Assam Police account to make its users feel ‘safe and secure’.