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BJP youth leaders lose blue tick on Twitter, accuse social media chief of mischief

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Days after BJP youth leaders secured verification of Twitter accounts, social media in-charge Amit Malviya allegedly got them de-verified.

New Delhi: Allegations are flying thick and fast in the BJP and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the ruling party, after the Twitter accounts of eight office-bearers of the youth wing lost their ‘verified’ status days after receiving it.

Some youth wing office-bearers have blamed this change on what they allege is the “vendetta politics” on the part of the BJP’s social media in-charge, Amit Malviya.

Highly placed sources in the party said the youth wing members have accused Malviya of getting the accounts de-verified due to “ego clashes”.

A verified Twitter account is indicated by a blue tick next to the name of the account holder or handle. It gives credibility to the account on the social media platform as the antecedents of the account holder are checked and confirmed by Twitter.

The sources said the leaders had asked Malviya to request Twitter to verify their accounts. But he had apparently refused saying the party only makes account verification requests for MLAs and MPs.

The accounts were subsequently verified at the intervention of BJYM national president Poonam Mahajan on 12 October, they said.

“As office bearers, the members were having difficulty in ensuring maximum following from their handles as they are putting out the party’s agenda and many will look for a verified account. In this season of politics, it is tough to distinguish between fake and genuine accounts. Thus, for them verification was necessary,” one source said.

A few of those who received the coveted blue tick even thanked Mahajan on Twitter. But soon, they were de-verified.

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Twitter is said to have informed BJYM that the verified accounts had not been vetted within the BJP before they were sent to the company for getting the verified status, the sources said.

They said the leaders who got their accounts verified with the help of Mahajan took the de-verification to higher-ups in the BJP. Such was the anguish within the BJYM that #AntiBJPMalviya trended on Twitter late Monday.

ThePrint reached Malviya for comment but he did not respond until the time of publishing this report.

Mahajan and the BJYM members pleaded ignorance about the matter.

“We do not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons so I don’t have any statement to share,” Kate Hayes, senior policy communications manager, Asia Pacific, Twitter, said in response to queries by ThePrint.

Some of the BJYM members whose accounts were de-verified suspect Malviya may have written to Twitter saying the BJP had not vetted their accounts.

According to Twitter rules, the social media platform reserves the right to remove verification for various reasons, including intentionally misleading people by changing display name or bio, promoting hate or violence, inciting or engaging in harassment, among others.

The BJYM controversy even reached Ram Lal, BJP national general secretary (organisation), and Malviya was accused of indulging in petty politics within the party, the sources said.

“They are also party members and office bearers. They too are working for the party. What if they got the accounts verified from some other office? He should take his battles to the opposition, not to his own party members,” said a party leader, referring to the BJYM members and Malviya.

Also readBJP is leaving Twitter behind, wants to stay in touch via NaMo app

Social media experts believe de-verification hurts the account holder as it can create confusion about the veracity of the information tweeted.

De-verified accounts

The eight BJYM members who have been de-verified are:

Kapil Parmar, national in-charge, social media and IT, BJYM
Charu Pragya, national in-charge (legal), co-in-charge UP, BJYM
Shivam Chhabra, national media in-charge, BJYM
Digvijay Singh, national in-charge, study circle, BJYM
Neha Joshi, national media co-in-charge, BJYM
Devang Dave, national convener, IT and social media committee, BJYM
Priya Sharma, national co-in-charge, study circle, BJYM
Anant Prakash, member, study circle, BJYM

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