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HomeIndia‘Hope Twitter will not stifle opposition’s voice’, says Rahul Gandhi congratulating Elon...

‘Hope Twitter will not stifle opposition’s voice’, says Rahul Gandhi congratulating Elon Musk

Former Cong president hoped Twitter would act against hate speech & fact check more robustly. He shared a graph showing the effect ‘manipulation’ had on his account last year.

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New Delhi: Congratulating billionaire Elon Musk for taking over Twitter, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said he hoped that the social media platform will no longer stifle the Indian opposition’s voice due to government pressure.

He also asked Twitter to act against hate speech and fact-check more robustly.

Gandhi also shared a data illustration showing how his Twitter account has been manipulated from January 2021 to September 2022.

The graph shows that from January 2021, his followers have increased from over 17 million to over 19 million (August 2021). According to the graph, after his tweet about a rape victim in August 2021, his follower growth was “suppressed” until Wall Street Journal “exposed” the platform in February 2022 .

After that, his account started to gain followers again reaching 21 million in September 2022.

Also Read: Musk backtracking? — Trump, Ranaut may not be back on Twitter as soon as he hinted

What happened in August?

On 4 August 2021, Gandhi tweeted a picture of his meeting with the parents of a nine-year-old Dalit girl allegedly raped, murdered, and forcibly cremated by the accused in the Delhi Cantonment.

Twitter took down the post on 6 August and temporarily locked Rahul Gandhi’s account based on the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)’s notice to the platform demanding “appropriate action”. NCPCR had said it violated the Juvenile Justice Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Though the tweet did not reveal the name of the child victim, the NCPCR said that the faces of the victim’s father and mother can be seen which thereby reveals the identity of the minor girl victim.

In an email from Twitter to the NCPCR, accessed by ThePrint, the social media platform said it had removed the post for violating the website’s terms of service and “on the basis of the potential risk of harm to the parents of the minor child over the visibility of their identity in the image”.

In a letter dated 13 August 2021, originally sent to NCPCR, Twitter said Gandhi’s tweet was reinstated globally owing to “supporting material”, which included evidence that the minor child’s parents had approved the image being published on the platform. However, it withheld the tweet in India due to the request of the NCPCR and to follow local laws.

Gandhi’s account and those of other Congress leaders, who tweeted the image, were unlocked a day after the letter was sent.

(Edited by Theres Sudeep)

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