Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has called out Twitter over its recent conduct where the platform labeled tweets by BJP politicians as ‘manipulated media’ without any evidence. He said that it was disconcerting that the platform was effectively taking sides in Indian politics.
Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “SM platforms must be transparent on who conducts these so-called fact checks & how they are done. Recently, Twitter applying policies selectively to take sides in India’s politics is disconcerting. Calls into question if they can seek refuge under provision of safe harbour.”
While the Assam Chief Minister is the first to take a strong stand along such lines against Twitter amidst the current conflict with the Indian Government, it is an extremely critical issue that ought to concern every Indian citizen who cares about the sovereignty of our nation.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Indian Government had written to Twitter requesting that the platform remove its ‘manipulated media’ label against a tweet on the Congress toolkit made by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra. Since then, the tag has surfaced on more tweets by BJP leaders on the toolkit controversy.
The Indian Government accused Twitter of attempting to influence investigations into the matter. However, the platform appears to have paid no heed as the label continues to exist in the said tweets. There was a clash between the government and the social media giant during the ‘farmer protests’ as well when the platform refused to take down tweets peddling dangerous fake news that could jeopardise the law and order situation in the country.
It is a matter of grave concern given the platform’s conduct in recent times. During the campaign for the US Presidential Elections in 2020, Twitter deliberately blocked a news report that portrayed Joe Biden in poor light. The news report was legitimate and reported accurate facts and yet, Twitter banned it anyway because it undermined the chances of their preferred political candidate.
CEO Jack Dorsey has already admitted that Twitter has a left-wing bias. After unfair meddling into the democratic process in the United States, it appears to be doing the same in India. For our country, the concerns are even more serious as it is a foreign-based company and there are enough indications that it is working in concert with the US Government.
In the absence of strong action, it is almost certain that the platform will intensify its efforts against the ruling dispensation. Historically, it has been observed that western businesses use their corporate might to influence domestic policies abroad but of late, with the conduct of social media and other fronts, it has come out into the open.
By 2023, it is only to be expected that Twitter will massively escalate its efforts to topple the NDA Government at the center. Given the manner in which they worked in tandem to throw out Donald Trump from the platform using flimsy excuses, a decision that has irked leaders around the world, the Indian Government should take it for granted that the platform has made up its mind to interfere in the internal politics of India and destabilize our country in the process.
Incidentally, the platform’s overtures towards the Congress party comes only weeks after former Congress president Rahul Gandhi solicited help from the United States in his efforts to defeat the BJP. Joe Biden’s refusal to lift the embargo on the export of vaccine raw materials, the international media’s biased coverage of the crisis in India and its attempt to pinpoint the entire blame on Narendra Modi is further confirmation of a deeper plot against the current ruling dispensation.
Thus, only complaining about the platform’s biased conduct will not help the BJP here. It has to compensated by concrete action. It is the duty of the Indian Government to prevent malicious foreign actors from interfering in the internal matters of India. And while the Prime Minister is embattled from all fronts, it is one avenue that he cannot afford to neglect.
The issue is not merely that of labels here. The primary cause for concern is that a foreign actor is openly choosing sides in Indian politics and is acting in ways that could be construed as attempts to subvert the will of the Indian people. The primary cause for concern is that a western company is attempting to undermine India’s national sovereignty. The Government has to act while it still has time, lest it be too late.