BY SHARON THAMBALA
Bengaluru, Feb 13 (IANS) The BJP’s Karnataka official twitter handle was blocked temporarily on Tuesday for 24 hours, following the account violating the social media’s “hateful conduct policy”, a source confirmed on Thursday.
“As per the social media giant’s enforcement options, the referenced account (BJP Karnataka) was temporarily locked for violating the hateful conduct policy,” the source confirmed to IANS.
According to twitter, people using the platform across the globe should refrain from promoting hatred, threats or harassment of other people using its services.
“You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease,” twitter’s hateful conduct policy mandates.
On Tuesday, twitter blocked BJP Karnataka’s official handle for 24 hours, owing to the account’s “views on liberals”.
“If you go through BJP Karnataka twitter timeline, you will see there is a notice which says this tweet is no longer available because it was actioned (blocked) for violation of twitter rules and policies, so hence the action,” the source said.
A notice is on display from Twitter on BJP Karnataka account’s timeline on February 10 saying, “This tweet is no longer available because it violated the twitter rules. Learn more.”
Clicking the link leads to a twitter engagement rules page which outlines the micro-blogging site’s policies and general guidelines.
“Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. Violence, harassment and other similar types of behaviour discourage people from expressing themselves, and ultimately diminish the value of global public conversation. Our rules are to ensure all people can participate in the public conversation freely and safely,” said Twitter about rules of engagement.
The company individually addressed a list of topics, and cautioned the account holders how not to abuse the platform.
The topics included violence, terrorism and violent extremism, child sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, hateful conduct, suicide or self-harm, sensitive media and illegal or certain regulated goods or services.
Elaborating on violence, Twitter said, “You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence.”
According to the source, in addition to deleting violating tweets, twitter’s range of enforcement and censoring extends between 12-hour account lock-outs to indefinite lockouts or complete blocking, known as account suspension for not adhering to the micro-blogging site’s well-defined rules.
“It depends on which policy a person has violated, how many times a person has violated the policy. Again there are different criteria for that kind of enforcement,” said the source about account suspensions.
Vinod Krishna Murthy, Karnataka state BJP Yuva Morcha Vice President, told IANS that Karnataka BJP IT cell has been telling the world what the liberals, leftists and Congress have done, and commenting about why the liberals are going against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which was not openly talked about.
He said the BJP Karnataka IT cell fired a series of tweets in the past couple of days, which were deleted by the social media giant.
He said he did not keep an account of the number of tweets disseminated and later taken off by twitter even as the source also could not exactly specify the tweet or tweets which earned twitter’s wrath.
In another video post on February 8 on twitter, BJP Karnataka showed a long queue of burqa-clad women waiting to vote in the Delhi assembly elections.
The Muslim women were seen showing their voter identity cards one after the other as someone asked them to do so in Hindi.
“Kaagaz nahi dikhayenge hum!!! Keep the documents safe, you will need to show them again during National Population Register (NPR) exercise. #DelhiPolls2020,” tweeted BJP Karnataka showing them.
The Delhi polls video post is still available on the BJP Karnataka twitter timeline.
After being locked out for 24 hours, on Wednesday, BJP Karnataka tweeted, “It is unfortunate that our handle was locked out by twitter for speaking the truth about liberals.”
Though Murthy told IANS that BJP national social media and IT cell played a role in getting the party’s Karnataka twitter account unblocked in one day, the source confirmed this claim to be false.
“Nothing like that, no, no,” told the source to IANS, confirming that twitter did not unblock BJP Karnataka on the party’s Delhi-based national social media and IT cell’s approach.
However, after getting unblocked on Wednesday, BJP Karnataka fired another tweet vowing that it will not step back.
“We will not step back in our efforts to bring out the truth in the public domain,” tweeted BJP Karnataka.
Murthy said the social media major did not seek any assurance or warn the BJP Karnataka IT cell as it unblocked the account.
“If you look at our tweets, we are taking on Congress head-on and with facts. We have also been taking on the liberals straight-on, whoever has been misleading the public with a lot of issues they are not even aware of and which is not even relevant to the topic,” said Murthy.
He asked for fair play for everybody on a platform like twitter.
Interestingly, it is not known if twitter actioned (blocked) BJP Karnataka suo motu or on somebody’s complaint.
(Sharon Thambala can be contacted at [email protected])