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Rahul writes on free speech concerns to Twitter CEO

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also sent an analysis of data from his Twitter account showing that his followers have barely increased for several months since August 2021, when his account was suspended for eight days.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also sent an analysis of data from his Twitter account showing that his followers have barely increased for several months since August 2021, when his account was suspended for eight days.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in a letter to Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal dated December 27 alleged that social media platform Twitter is unknowingly complicit in curbing free and fair speech in India. He has alleged that there is a shadow ban on him which restricts his tweets and the number of people who can follow him.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed Mr. Gandhi’s concerns in a news report published on Wednesday. The report quotes a letter written by Mr. Gandhi to Mr Agarwal. “I want to bring your attention to what I believe is Twitter’s unwitting complicity in curbing free and fair speech in India,” Mr. Gandhi wrote.

He further wrote that he has been “reliably, albeit discreetly, informed by people at Twitter India that they are under immense pressure by the government to silence” his voice. Along with the letter, Mr. Gandhi also sent an analysis of data from his Twitter account showing that his followers have barely increased for several months since August when his account was suspended for eight days. Currently, he has 19.5 million followers.

The WSJ claims to have independently verified the claim using two social media analytics companies Emplifi and Social Blade. The analysis shows that he gained on an average nearly four lakh new users per month from January to July 2021. This figure sharply dipped post the suspension. From September to December, the data shows, that per month he has gained less than 2,500 followers.

“You have an enormous responsibility to ensure that Twitter does not actively help in the growth of authoritarianism in India,” Mr Gandhi wrote.

Mr. Gandhi has been using Twitter since 2015. In August last year his account was locked for eight days after he tweeted a photo of the parents of a 9-year-old girl who was allegedly raped and murdered. The account was suspended because it violated the law that prohibits revealing the identity of a rape victim. The account was restored after receiving a consent letter from the girl’s family saying that they had allowed Mr. Gandhi to post the video.


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Printable version | May 16, 2022 9:28:27 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rahul-writes-on-free-speech-concerns-to-twitter-ceo/article38330471.ece