When Congress, BJP "Dudes" Gave Each Other Free Speech Lessons On Twitter

Earlier Twitter permanently suspended US President Donald Trump's account citing tweets that delegitimise the US polls and encouraged violence.

When Congress, BJP 'Dudes' Gave Each Other Free Speech Lessons On Twitter
New Delhi:

Twitter's permanent suspension of outgoing US President Donald Trump's account over instigation to violence has Indian social media's political sphere roughing it out today, with the national parties especially daggers drawn at each other. One slice of the conversation, involving young party leaders Tejasvi Surya and Srivasta YB - both from Karnataka - made for an interesting read on the microblogging platform.

It began with Mr Surya, the BJP's Youth Wing President and Bengaluru South MP, warning that the suspension was a "wake-up call for democracies" on the threat posed by "unregulated" big-tech companies. He called for a review of the laws governing such firms so that they couldn't act this way in India.

Later, in a tweet that did not cite or quote this specific view of Mr Surya's, Srivatsa YB of the Congress sought a Twitter ban on individuals in India who incite violence. Mr Srivatsa is the National Campaign In-charge of the Youth Congress. The individuals he cited were Mr Surya and one "Amit Malware".

Known for his incendiary public utterances, Mr Suryva was only a few weeks ago heard making such divisive speeches in Hyderabad during the municipal poll campaign there.

Nevertheless, the young BJP leader quoted his rival's tweet to say he didn't want Twitter to ban anyone and that freedom of expression was sacrosanct. He, however, also took a jibe at the Congress. Addressing Mr Srivatsa as "Dude", he said "such statesmanship" couldn't be expected from a party that imposed Emergency.

The Congress activist didn't waste time with niceties. Don't confuse free speech for hate speech, he said, even while he didn't miss out on the "dude".

Earlier on Friday, in a comprehensive analysis of its policy enforcement approach, Twitter cited two of Mr Trump's tweets that delegitimise the US electoral process and threaten the orderly transfer of power. These were also viewed as encouraging potential violence at President-elect Joe Biden's Inauguration ceremony on January 20.

"After a close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them - specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter - we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," the company said in a blog post on Friday.