BJP MP Tejasvi Surya today cited Twitter’s permanent suspension of outgoing US President Donald Trump’s account as a “wake-up call for democracies” on the threat posed by “unregulated” big-tech companies. He took the opportunity to call for a review of the laws governing these firms apparently so that such action is not taken in India.
The Bengaluru South MP’s comments came hours after Twitter permanently shut down President Trump’s account citing the risk of further incitement to violence.
“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.
After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.https://t.co/CBpE1I6j8Y
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 8, 2021
In a comprehensive analysis of its policy enforcement approach in the US President’s case, it cited two of his 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.
Mr Surya quoted Twitter’s post and tagged the Union Ministry of Electronics and IT to say, “This must be wake up call for all who don’t yet understand the threat to our democracies by unregulated big tech companies. If they can do this to POTUS, they can do this to anyone. Sooner India reviews intermediaries regulations, better for our democracy.”
Known for his own incendiary and divisive public speeches, the young parliamentarian was only a few weeks ago heard ratcheting up religious tempers in Hyderabad amid the campaign for the city municipal polls.
“Owaisi is Jinnah’s new avatar. We must defeat him,” the BJP Youth Wing President had said, equating the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen chief with Pakistan’s founder. His comments provoked a warning from Hyderabad police not to incite communal violence.
BJP’s social media chief Amit Malviya, whose November 28 tweet on farmer protests was flagged as “manipulated media” by Twitter in December, also criticised the social media platform’s move this morning and tweeted, “Deplatforming Donald Trump, a sitting US president, sets a dangerous precedent… Big tech firms are now the new oligarchs.”
Deplatforming Donald Trump, a sitting US president, sets a dangerous precedent.
It has less to do with his views and more to do with intolerance for a differing point. Ironically, those who claim to champion free speech are celebrating.
Big tech firms are now the new oligarchs.
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) January 9, 2021
The ban on Trump’s social media accounts was also condemned by Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha member Priyanka Chaturvedi, who said, “Now that Trump is out of power suspension coming from all these very platforms that powered him. Sowed hate to reap profits& now being holier than thou (sic)”
These platforms have been enablers of hate, fake news and continue to be so in different parts of the world where they operate. Now that Trump is out of power suspension coming from all these very platforms that powered him.
Sowed hate to reap profits& now being holier than thou
— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) January 9, 2021