Cong handles locking row: Twitter says rules enforced judiciously, impartially

The Congress' official account, and accounts of party leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala, Ajay Maken, Sushmita Dev and Manickam Tagore were among those temporarily locked
The Twitter logo. (REUTERS)
The Twitter logo. (REUTERS)
Updated on Aug 12, 2021 01:17 PM IST
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ByDeeksha Bhardwaj

The Congress on Thursday hit out at the government for “scuttling free speech” and said the party’s Twitter account and accounts of several of its leaders were temporarily locked for sharing a photograph of the family of a nine-year-old rape victim. Accounts of Randeep Singh Surjewala, Ajay Maken, Sushmita Dev, and Manickam Tagore were among those temporarily locked, Congress functionaries aware of the matter said.

The party’s official handle, on Instagram, posted a screenshot of Twitter’s message informing the party that its account has been locked.

“The official Twitter account of the Congress party has been locked by Twitter India. Modi ji, just how afraid are you? Reminder: The Congress party fought for our nation’s independence, equipped only with truth, non-violence & the will of the people. We won then, we’ll win again,” the caption underneath the screenshot read.

Rohan Gupta, the head of Congress’s social media department, accused Twitter of working under government pressure and added it has blocked 5,000 accounts of their leaders and workers across India. “They need to understand we can’t be pressurised by Twitter or the government.”

Twitter insisted it enforces its rules judiciously and impartially and added it has taken proactive action over several hundred tweets that posted the image in violation of its rules. “(Twitter)...may continue to do so in line with our range of enforcement options,” a Twitter spokesperson said. “Certain types of private information carry higher risks than others, and our aim is always to protect individuals’ privacy and safety. We strongly encourage everyone on the service to familiarise themselves with the Twitter Rules and report anything they believe is in violation.”

Also Read | Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter account locked, firm tells Delhi high court

Twitter said the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) alerted it about the specific content on the platform that allegedly revealed the identity of an alleged sexual assault victim and her parents. It added the matter was reviewed in line with Twitter rules as well as the concerns expressed as per Indian law.

Congress has been at loggerheads with Twitter since Saturday when Rahul Gandhi’s account was temporarily locked. It earlier claimed the account was suspended before clarifying the account was temporarily locked.

Twitter said the account was never suspended as such action would entail making the account inaccessible across the globe.

The NCPCR earlier asked the Delhi Police and Twitter to take action against Gandhi over the photograph he posted after meeting the family of the nine-year-old girl, who was killed following an alleged sexual assault. It said the posting of the picture violated the law.

Gandhi met the girl’s family and assured his support last week. “Parents’ tears are saying only one thing -- their daughter, the daughter of this country, deserves justice. And I am with them on this path to justice,” Gandhi tweeted in Hindi and posted the photo of his meeting with the girl’s relatives.

Twitter took down the post.

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Thursday, May 19, 2022