Explained: Why Twitter Has Locked Several Congress Accounts

Rohan Gupta, Social Media Head, AICC, told BOOM that the Congress handles had been locked after they had tweeted in support of Rahul Gandhi with a screenshot of his now-removed tweet

Twitter locked the Congress party's main account (@INCIndia) on Thursday for breaching its policy, the latest in an escalating row between the micro-blogging site and the party.

The Congress party, which has 8.4 million followers on Twitter, took to Facebook and Instagram to inform its supporters of the action.

Unlike a suspension, a locked account is still visible on the platform with the owner unable to access the account and tweet until they have performed a series of actions which could include deleting a tweet.

Throughout the week, Congress volunteers and senior party members have said that their accounts were locked after they tweeted in support of Rahul Gandhi with a screenshot of Gandhi's now-removed tweet.

Rahul Gandhi's Twitter account was temporarily locked after he shared the photograph of the parents of a nine-year-old Dalit girl, who was allegedly raped and killed at a crematorium in Delhi on August 1, 2021. Twitter told the Delhi High Court on August 11, 2021, that it had locked Gandhi's account since his tweet posted pictures of family members of the minor Dalit girl, which
breached its policy
. Gandhi has 19.5 million Twitter followers.

Provisions of the Indian Penal Code prevent the revelation of the identity of an individual who is or may be a victim of sexual assault. The penalty for flouting this law is jail term up to two years or a fine or both.

Also read: What The Law Says About Revealing A Sexual Assault Victim's Identity

When contacted, Twitter in an emailed response said it had taken action on several hundred tweets that posted the photo.

"The Twitter Rules are enforced judiciously and impartially for everyone on our service. We have taken proactive action on several hundred Tweets that posted an image that violated our Rules, and may continue to do so in line with our range of enforcement options," a spokesperson said.

"Certain types of private information carry higher risks than others, and our aim is always to protect individuals' privacy and safety. We strongly encourage everyone on the service to familiarise themselves with the Twitter Rules and report anything they believe is in violation," the statement further added.

BOOM also spoke to Rohan Gupta, Social Media Head, AICC. Gupta claimed around 5000 Congress accounts that tweeted a screenshot of Gandhi's now-removed tweet have been locked by Twitter.

"We had told all our volunteers to tweet #मैं_भी_Rahul (I too am Rahul), with a screenshot of the tweet of Rahul Gandhi that had been removed by Twitter. This is in protest, because National Commission for Scheduled Castes Twitter handle had earlier posted a tweet that had a similar photo of the victim's mother on August 2, 2021, and till August 5 Twitter never took any action on that tweet. But when Gandhi tweeted on August 4, they immediately took action on his account and took the tweet down," Gupta told BOOM.

"So in protest of that, all our volunteers posted a screenshot of Gandhi's tweet, and all our senior leaders, spokespersons, state handle accounts who tweeted that have been locked out since. If this is a violation of Twitter rules, then why the tweet by NCSC handle on August 2 was allowed to stay up for 3 days? and when Gandhi posted later on August 4, how it became a Twitter rule violation then?."

Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala had tweeted on August 8, 2021, that even the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, and former BJP MP Anju Bala, had tweeted photographs of the victim's parents.

"On August 2, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes met parents of the daughter of Delhi and put the photos of the parents on Twitter, If a former BJP MP and member of SC Commission put photos of parents on Twitter on 3rd August, then it's fine. However, if Rahul Gandhi asks for justice for his daughter, then it's a crime!," the tweet read with screenshots of those tweets.

BOOM looked for the tweets by Bala and NCSC mentioned by Surjewala and found replies to tweets from these accounts that have been labeled by Twitter stating, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules"

Click here to view

Click here to view

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