Senior BJP leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe has shot back at Twitter for labelling tweets made by him and his colleagues as “manipulated media”. He has said that the conduct of the platform was biased and that it exposed the selective approach of Twitter. He also asked the Government to look into the issue of whether Twitter is a social media platform or a media platform.
Sahasrabuddhe, who is also a sitting Rajya Sabha member said, “The action taken by Twitter against us raises questions about the very character of the social media since they had earlier claimed that they are just a platform on which people can freely express their views.”
Sahasrabuddhe further said, “If Twitter or, for that matter, Facebook, are just platforms they claim to be then how can they decide the nature of a content?” He added, “If so, they should be brought under the purview of the editorial policy norms effective on the FDI in the media sector.”
Notably, the micro-blogging website had on Friday flagged tweets of the BJP leaders sharing alleged toolkit document by the Congress to malign the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India.
The Congress had claimed that the 'toolkit' was forged and filed a police complaint against BJP leaders including party president J P Nadda for allegedly "spreading misinformation". The Sonia Gandhi-led party has also written to Twitter for permanent suspension of the accounts of BJP leaders.
After Twitter flagged the tweets, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in a statement on Friday said that it has written a strong communication to the global team of Twitter registering objection on the use of the “Manipulated Media” tag on certain tweets made by Indian political leaders with reference to a toolkit "created to undermine, derail and demean the efforts of the government against COVID19 pandemic".
Asserting that an investigation by a local law enforcement agency is already going on the complaint filed by one of the parties in the matter, the government said that Twitter has "unilaterally drawn a conclusion" in the matter without waiting for the police to "determine the veracity of the toolkit'.
"Twitter has unilaterally drawn a conclusion in this matter and arbitrarily tagged it as ‘Manipulated Media’. Such tagging by Twitter appears pre-judged, prejudiced, and a deliberate attempt to colour the investigation by the local law enforcement agency," the ministry said.
The ministry has termed such unilateral action by Twitter as an effort to influence the fair investigation process and a clear overreach, which is totally unwarranted.