‘Dangerous game’: Rahul Gandhi goes all out against Twitter over account blocking

Several Congress leaders have changed the name and photo on their Twitter handles to Rahul Gandhi’s in a show of support for the party leader.

Several Congress leaders have changed the name and photo on their Twitter handles to Rahul Gandhi's in a show of support for the party leader. (File Photo)

Rahul Gandhi on Thursday continued his offensive against Twitter for locking his account and accused the microblogging website of “interfering in our political process” and calling it an “attack on the democratic structure of the country”.  

“A company is making its business to define our politics and as a politician, I don’t like that. This is an attack on the democratic structure of the country. This is not an attack on Rahul Gandhi, this is not simply shutting Rahul Gandhi down,” said Gandhi in a video statement released on YouTube titled “Twitter’s Dangerous Game”. 

“I’ve 19-20 million followers. You’re denying them right to an opinion. It’s not only patently unfair but also breaching the idea that Twitter is a neutral platform. For investors, it’s a very dangerous thing. Taking sides in political context has repercussions for Twitter,” he added.

On Thursday, the Congress had cornered the microblogging website over its alleged inaction against the BJP’s chief of information technology for seemingly the same violation that led to blocking of the accounts of several Congress leaders.

Srinivas BV, chief of the Congress’s youth wing, shared a post by the BJP’s Amit Malviya that appeared to reveal the identity of a rape victim from Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras last year.

“Dear Orange Twitter, She’s the mother of rape victim, it’s been 10 months now, tweet and account is still there. Modiji se permission nahi mili kya?” he wrote from his Twitter handle whose name was changed to Rahul Gandhi’s to show his support.

Twitter blocked the accounts of Gandhi and several other Congress leaders for sharing photographs which showed them interacting with the family members of a minor girl who was raped and killed in Delhi last week.

As Indians, he asked, “we have to ask the question: are we going to allow companies just because they are beholden to the Government of India to define our politics for us”.

“Is that what this is going to come to? Or are we going to define our politics on our own? That’s the real question here,” the Congress leader said.

He alleged that this is not only patently unfair, this is their breaching the idea that Twitter is a neutral platform. And for the investors this is a very dangerous thing because taking sides in the political contest has repercussions for Twitter, Gandhi said.

“Our democracy is under attack. We are not allowed to speak in Parliament. The media is controlled. And I thought there was a ray of light where we could put what we thought on Twitter. But obviously, that’s not the case,” he said.

Twitter on its part has said that it has followed the due process as Gandhi’s tweet on the family of the victim was against its rules and the law.

The company said it was alerted by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights “about specific content on our platform that allegedly revealed the identity of an alleged sexual assault victim’s (and a minor’s) parents”.

A “locked” Twitter account means the user cannot tweet, retweet or like any posts and “can only send Direct Messages to followers”.

(With inputs from agencies)

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