It calls for “pulling” farmers who protest against controversial agricultural reforms in India on trend for hours and hours on Twitter Tuesday, as thousands of tweets encouraging police brutality against them flooded the platform.
Violence he burst out in the Indian capital on Tuesday after thousands of farmers, who have been living on the outskirts of New Delhi for nearly two months protesting against the government’s agricultural reforms that they say will hurt their livelihoods, are they entered the city and met with the police. Protesters marched through police barricades around the city and stormed the Red Fort, a historic national monument. Police used heavy sticks and fired tear gas shells. Authorities have also closed Internet access in part of the capital, something officials in India say do it often to cancel the protests. At least one protester is dead.
On Twitter, supporters of the Indian nationalist government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, called the protesting “terrorists” and encouraged police brutality against them. “They are not farmers. They are worms, which wear fake masks of farmers, ”reads one of the viral tweets, which used the hashtag“ #shoot. ”“ Asking @AmitShah #shoot in sight is just the option, ”another tweet said, marking the minister of India and the right hand of Modi responsible for law and order in the country.
“Hit them with your sticks, Delhi police,” the editor of a pro-government propaganda blog he tweeted in hindi. “We’re with you.”
Tuesday morning, “Shoot” was one of the main trending topics on the platform in India, in addition to the Hindi phrase “Tell Police lath bajao” – which translates freely to “Delhi Police, hit them with your batons” .
“Shoot” stayed in the Trending section on Twitter in India for at least a couple of hours. He disappeared only after there was a public outcry and after BuzzFeed News sent an email asking for comments. The company also deleted the blog editor’s tweet, saying it violated Twitter rules, and suspended its account for 12 hours. However, the Hindi phrase encouraging the police to use their sticks has remained a trend topic for at least another hour. A “#shoot” search revealed hundreds of tweets asking police to shoot the protesters.
“We have taken steps today to protect the conversation on our service from the evidence of incite violence, abuse and threats which could trigger the risk of male offline“, A Twitter spokesman told BuzzFeed News.” Our team will take it strong force act with caution and impartiality on content, trends, Tweets and accounts that violate the Twitter rules. We strongly encourage everyone on the service to familiarize themselves with the Twitter Rules and report everything they believe is in violation. We are following the situation closely and we are paying close attention. ”
A day later, Twitter released a new statement saying it had suspended more than 300 accounts engaged in spam and platform manipulation. “We follow the situation closely and remain vigilant, and strongly encourage those who are on duty to report anything they believe violates the rules,” the company said.
In the United States, many technology platforms including Twitter has finally banned former President Donald Trump from the platform after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Trump had been banned from the platform “because of the risk of further violence.” he tweeted Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, political and trust and security. Last year, the company launched a warning label on one of the former president’s posts about the Minneapolis protests that said, “[When] the sacking begins, the shooting begins. “
But experts have argued that Silicon Valley-based companies like Twitter and Facebook have one double standard when it comes to enforcing its own policies globally. In non-Western countries like India, which has fallen into authoritarianism under the Modi government in recent years, technical platforms often move slowly or it does not act against people who use them as a weapon to cause damage in the real world.
Last year, for example, Twitter left dozens of tweets doxing Indo-Muslim interfaith couples remained on the platform until BuzzFeed News asked the company. In December, protesters gathered outside Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, claiming the social network was censor the content published in support of Indian agricultural protesters. And the Wall Street Journal reported that Ankhi Das, a former Facebook leader in India, had prevented the company from taking action against a politician belonging to the Modi party for posting hate speech, saying that doing so would harm the business interests of the company.
“Powerful interests everywhere have learned that Silicon Valley tools can be used to create a human rights firewall, but the only time platforms care is when they have a bad image,” said Alaphia Zoyab, director of defense of Reset, a nonprofit technology policy that aims to address the information crisis created by technical platforms, he told BuzzFeed News.
“When Silicon Valley has to choose between the protection of commercial interests or the protection of human rights, they have to choose the former,” he added. “The fact is that their current business model is fundamentally incompatible with democracy and freedom because a determined army of trolls in the camp of those in power can only divert the platform to demand violence.”
Gadde did not respond to a request for comment, and Twitter declined to respond if accounts in India encouraging violence will be permanently banned.