Calling to “shoot” farmers protested Controversial agricultural reform in India there is an hourly trend on Twitter on Tuesday, when thousands of tweets encouraging the police brutality of them flood the platform.
Violence Eruptions in the Indian capital on Tuesday after thousands of farmers, who have been camping in the New Delhi suburbs for almost two months to protest against the government’s agricultural reforms that they say will harm Their livelihood, went into the city and clashed with the police. Demonstrators crossed the police barrier around the city and stormed the Red Fort, a historic national monument. Police used heavy batons and fired tear gas bullets. Authorities also shut down Internet access in areas of the capital, something officials in India have also often do to quell the demonstrations. At least one protester was dead.
On Twitter, India’s Hindu nationalist government supporters, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, called the protesters “terrorists” and encouraged the destruction. police violence against them. “They are not farmers. They are worms, wearing a peasant mask, ”read one of the viral tweets, using the hashtag“ #shoot. Another tweet said: “Asking @AmitShah # to snap now is the only option,” another tweet said, tagging India’s Interior Minister and Modi’s right arm responsible for the law and domestic order.
“Beat them with your baton, Delhi police,” said the editor of a pro-government propaganda blog. tweeted in Hindi. “We are with you.”
On Tuesday morning, “Shooting” was one of the most trending topics on the platform in India, aside from the Hindi phrase “Dilli Police lath bajao” – meaning “Delhi Police, use a club. your”.
“Shoot” remains in the Trends section on Twitter in India for at least a few hours. It only disappeared after there was an outcry from the public and after BuzzFeed News emailed a request for comment. The company also removed the blog editor’s tweet, said it violated Twitter’s rules, and suspended her account for 12 hours. However, the Hindi phrase encouraging police to use batons remains a trending topic for at least another hour. A search for “#shoot” found hundreds of tweets asking police to shoot the protesters.
“We have taken steps today to protect our on-service chat from attempts to help inciting violence, abuse and threats That could pose a risk harm offline, ”A Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “Our team will take it enforcement is strong act cautiously and fairly on offending content, trends, Tweets, and accounts Twitter rules. We strongly encourage everyone on the service to familiarize themselves with Twitter’s Rules and report whatever they believe is a violation. We are monitoring the situation closely and are always alert.
A day later, Twitter released a new statement saying it had suspended more than 300 accounts from engaging in spam activity and manipulating the platform. “We are closely monitoring the situation and stay vigilant, and strongly encourage service users to report anything they consider to be in violation of the rules,” the company said.
In the United States, many technology platforms including Twitter has permanently banned former President Donald Trump from the platform after his supporters stormed the US Capitol earlier this month. Trump has been banned from the platform “due to the risk of further violence,” tweeted Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, policy, trust and safety. Last year, the company booked one warning label on one of the former president’s posts about the Minneapolis rallies it read: “[When] The looting began, the shooting began. “
But experts have argued that Silicon Valley-based companies like Twitter and Facebook have double standards when it comes to enforcing their own policies globally. In non-Western countries like India, which has fallen into authoritarianism under the Modi government over the past few years, technology platforms often move slowly or inaction against people who use them as a weapon to cause harm in the real world.
Last year, for example, Twitter sent dozens of tweets doxing Hindu-Muslim couples constantly remained on the platform until BuzzFeed News asked the company about them. In December, protesters gathered outside the headquarters of Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, alleging that the social network was content moderation posted in favor of Indian farmers protests. And The Wall Street Journal report that Ankhi Das, a top Facebook executive in India, has prevented the company from taking action against a Modi’s party politician for posting a hate speech, saying that doing so would do. harm the business interests of the company.
Alaphia Zoyab, advocacy director at Reset, a technology nonprofit that aims to address the information crisis created by technology platforms, told BuzzFeed News.
“When Silicon Valley has to choose between protecting business interests or protecting human rights, they will choose the first,” she added. “The fact that their current business model is fundamentally incompatible with democracy and freedom because a staunch army of trolls in the camp of those in power can only usurp the platform to demand violence. force. “
Gadde did not respond to a request for comment, and Twitter declined to reply whether accounts in India that encouraged violence were permanently banned.