Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi has written to Twitter questioning its policy on suppressing his reach to his followers and not curbing hate speeches in the country. The letter written on December 27 says, "It is perplexing that growth in my Twitter follower has suddenly been suppressed, with nearly 20 million followers on my Twitter account very active adding 8 to 10 thousand followers daily."
He said in May his account gained 6,40,000 followers but since August it has fallen to zero. "I have been albeit discreetly informed by people of Twitter India that they are under immense pressure by the government to silence my voice," he wrote.
Rahul said to Twitter, "you have enormous responsibility that twitter does not actively help in the growth of authoritarianism in India as the world is watching.â€ť He also mentioned how his account was blocked but Twitter at that time had said that following the complaint by the NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights), his Twitter account was temporarily suspended and the party, from his official handle, tweeted that due process was being followed for its restoration.
In his letter to Twitter CEO Parag Aggarwal, Rahul said, "I am writing to you on behalf of more than a billion Indians to not allow Twitter to become a pawn in the destruction of the idea of India".
"I want to bring your attention to what I believe is Twitter's unwitting complicity in curbing free and fair speech in India," Gandhi also said in his December 27 letter to Twitter.
Responding to him, Twitter's vice president, Global Public Policy and Philanthropy, Sinead McSweeney has said, "Twitter is deeply committed to India" and will ensure that public conversation is healthy, which includes diverse voices, diverse points of view, allowing people to be better informed and to participate safely and comfortably.
Twitter also pointed out that it does not arbitrarily censor political content and elevating political debate and open discourse is fundamental to its service and core values.
"We understand increased transparency is at the foundation to promote healthy public conversation on Twitter and to earn trust. We know it is critical that people understand our processes and that we are transparent about what happens as a result.
"We assure you that Twitter, Inc. treats its role as a platform service provider with utmost seriousness and we are deeply committed to India," McSweeney said.
Rahul had pointed out that the ideological battle between liberal democracy and authoritarianism across the world is being shaped on social media platforms and this places a huge responsibility on those that are at the helm of companies such as Twitter.
As a leader of India's largest opposition party, Rahul said it is his duty to raise my voice on behalf of our people against injustice.
"As you may be aware, there is an ongoing assault on India's institutional framework and a complete capture of traditional mainstream media," he alleged, adding that social media platforms like Twitter have become important channels to raise people's issues and hold the government to account.â€ť
"In this background, it is perplexing that the growth in my Twitter followers has suddenly been suppressed," he alleged, adding that his Twitter followers which were increasing by an average of 10,000 every day have become stagnant and have fallen to nearly zero.
On Rahulâ€™s follower count, Twitter said the numbers are "meaningful and accurate" as it keeps fighting spam and malicious automation strategically with machine learning tools.
Rahul Gandhi joined Twitter in April 2015 and has 19.6 million followers on the social media platform.
With PTI and IANS inputs