Suspended accounts included those of senior leaders K C Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala among others, social media head Rohan Gupta, and the INC Twitter handle along with those of the party’s Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Daman and Diu and Tamil Nadu units.
A Twitter spokesperson said the action was initiated because the handles violated Twitter rules and that accounts will be restored once objectionable content is deleted. The handles had put up pictures of the family of a child victim whose death is being alleged to be a case of sexual assault.
Twitter was alerted to pictures of the dalit family of the 9-year-old meeting Rahul Gandhi, shared on the latter’s Twitter handle, by the national commission for protection of child rights (NCPCR).
As a mark of protest against the the social media company’s “misplaced” action, and to throw a challenge as well, Congress supporters renamed their handles as ‘Rahul Gandhi’ and changed their profile pictures to Rahul’s, leading to a surfeit of RaGa handles.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra slammed Twitter and accused it of being in cahoots with BJP, to “lock down the voices that cry for justice”.
“Is Twitter following its own policy for the suspension of Congress leaders’ accounts or the Modi government’s? Why hadn’t it locked the account of SC commission that had tweeted similar photos …Twitter is blatantly colluding with stifling of democracy by BJP government in India,” she said.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who also heads the parliamentary standing committee on information technology, said the action taken against Rahul Gandhi raises obvious concerns of selectivity and bias. “…Focus on what happened to the girl, not a pic!”
TMC MP Derek O’Brien condemned the Twitter action. “What’s going on @Twitter @TwitterIndia @jack. What’s going on? We strongly condemn the blocking of the accounts of @INCIndia and senior leaders of the Congress party,” he said.
The social media firm said, “Twitter Rules are enforced judiciously and impartially for everyone on our service. We have taken proactive action on several hundred Tweets that posted an image that violated our Rules, and may continue to do so in line with our range of enforcement options. Certain types of private information carry higher risks than others, and our aim is always to protect individuals’ privacy and safety,” a Twitter spokesperson said.