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Rahul Gandhi blames Twitter for ‘limiting’ his followers amid ‘Modi government pressure’

Rahul Gandhi wrote to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal on December 27, alleging that the platform was probably working under pressure from the Modi government.
 

Rahul Gandhi blames Twitter for limiting his followers amid Modi government pressure-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Jan 27, 2022, 9:26 AM IST

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has written to Twitter that the microblogging platform is limiting his ability to find new followers after “pressure by the government to silence my voice”, citing that his following has virtually frozen ever since his account was briefly locked in August 2021.

Rahul wrote to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal on December 27, alleging that the platform was probably working under pressure from the Modi government.

One of Gandhi’s tweets was recently banned for violating Twitter’s content guidelines.

“I want to bring your attention to what I believe is Twitter’s unwitting complicity in curbing free and fair speech in India… I have been reliably, albeit discreetly, informed by people at Twitter India that they are under immense pressure by the government to silence my voice,” Gandhi wrote in his letter to Twitter CEO Parag Aggarwal in December.

According to multiple reports citing Rahul Gandhi's December 27 letter to Parag Agrawal, Gandhi said that previously he was gaining about two lakh followers per month, but since August 2021, his follower count has been increasing at a rate of a mere 2500 per month. In the letter to Twitter, Gandhi also alleged that his Twitter following has remained frozen at 19.5 million.

“You have an enormous responsibility to ensure that Twitter does not actively help in the growth of authoritarianism in India,” Rahul Gandhi said in his letter to Agrawal.

“The ideological battle between liberal democracy and authoritarianism across the world is being shaped by social media platforms. This places a huge responsibility on these that are at the helm of companies like Twitter,” Gandhi further said, the Times of India quoted.

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Responding to Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi on drop in the number of followers, Twitter spokesperson explained that the social media platform has a zero-tolerance approach to platform manipulation and spam. 

“Follower counts are a visible feature and we want everyone to have confidence that numbers are meaningful and accurate. Twitter has zero-tolerance approach to platform manipulation and spam,” Twitter spokesperson clarified on Rahul Gandhi’s letter to Twitter in a statement. 

The spokesperson said that Twitter removes millions of accounts each week for violating the company’s policies on platform manipulation and spam. While some Twitter handles notice minor differences in follower count, the spokesperson added, the numbers could be higher in certain cases.

“We fight spam and malicious automation strategically and at scale with machine learning tools, and as part of those consistent and ongoing efforts to ensure a healthy service and credible accounts, follower counts can and do fluctuate….We remove millions of accounts each week for violating our policies on platform manipulation and spam. You can take a look at latest Twitter Transparency Center update for more context. While some accounts notice minor difference, in certain cases number could be higher,” Twitter said.

In August, Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter account was briefly suspended after he tweeted a photograph of the family of a rape victim in Delhi. BJP had raised objections to Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter post, after which the microblogging site had suspended his account for eight days citing violation of norms.

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