In another incident of shadow boxing between Congress and Twitter, Rahul Gandhi on Friday took to YouTube to slam Twitter after his account was temporarily locked out last week for compromising the identity of a minor rape victim in a tweet posted by him. Twitter and Congress have been involved in a sparring match recently, to prove the ‘neutral’ credentials of Twitter after its bias came into question recently by the Modi government and average netizens across the globe.
A video slightly longer than one-and-a-half-minute and titled “Twitter’s Dangerous Game” was released on Rahul Gandhi’s official YouTube channel, wherein he alleged that Twitter was interfering in India’s politics by shutting down his account. “A company is making its business to define our politics. And as a politician, I don’t like it,” Gandhi said.
“This is an attack on the democratic structure of the country. This is not an attack on Rahul Gandhi,” the senior Congress leader said, whose account was temporarily locked out for sharing a picture of the parents of the nine-year-old Dalit girl who was allegedly raped and killed at a crematorium in Delhi Cantonment. “I have 19-20 million followers. You are denying them a right to an opinion.”
Interestingly, the “opinion” that Rahul Gandhi is talking about is his supposed right to compromise the identity of a minor rape victim for petty politics, which is not allowed by law.
Railing against the microblogging website, the Gandhi scion said shutting down his account was patently unfair and it sent a message that Twitter was not a neutral platform. Threatening the social media giant, Gandhi said, “For the investors, it is a very dangerous thing because taking sides in a political context has repercussions for Twitter.”
The Wayanad MP also accused Twitter of being beholden to the central government. “It is obvious now that Twitter is not a neutral objective platform. It is a biased platform which heeds to the directives of the government of the day,” Gandhi said. It is pertinent to note that Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party had attacked the government hammer and tongs when the Modi government had taken steps to curb the unbridled power exercised by tech-giants to silent voices that they deem politically inconvenient.
Twitter locks out Rahul Gandhi’s account temporarily for violating its policy
The controversy erupted last week when Gandhi’s account was temporarily locked out by Twitter. It later issued a statement on the incident, saying that the action was taken as per the information shared by the National Commission of Women (NCW) according to the guidelines under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Social media behemoth Twitter on Wednesday this week informed a Delhi Court that it had locked the Twitter account of Rahul Gandhi because the senior Congress leader had violated its policy by sharing the pictures of the minor rape victims in a tweet posted by him.
Reportedly, the account was restored, but Rahul Gandhi was still smarting the snub by the social media giant. Sources in the Congress IT cell told OpIndia that the party wanted Twitter to either come out and say that they ‘locked out’ Rahul Gandhi’s account under pressure from the Government of India or to at least issue a regret note for doing so.
The sources further added that the party had threatened that they will ask all Congress supporters and workers to quit the platform if the social networking giant does not publicly apologise for ‘wrongly suspending’ Rahul Gandhi’s account. As a mark of solidarity with Rahul Gandhi, various Congress leaders took to sharing the same image that got the Gandhi scion’s account locked out over violation of the POCSO Act.