05 Jun 2021: Twitter de-verifies, then restores verification for VP Venkaiah Naidu's account
Twitter is taking its war with the Indian government into high gear. After removing the verification badge of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu's personal account, the microblogging site restored it following uproar against the partisan move. However, Twitter continued its targeted attack on BJP by removing the blue verification checkmarks from the top brass of the party's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as well.
Measured rebellion: Naidu's personal account targeted, but official VP account left untouched
While the Twitter-verified status of official Twitter account @VPSecratariat belonging to the Vice President was left untouched, Naidu's seven-year-old personal account had its special status stripped early Saturday morning. Twitter-verified accounts sport a badge with a blue checkmark to identify authenticity of accounts belonging to politicians, businessmen, journalists, non-profits, entertainers, and other public figures. The idea is to safeguard Twitter users from impersonators.
Fact: Twitter cites account inactivity for de-verification, but restores Naidu's account
"Account inactive since July 2020. As per our verification policy, Twitter may remove the blue verified badge and verified status if the account becomes inactive. The badge has been restored," said Twitter's representative, confirming the reversal of Naidu's de-verification per PTI report.
Politically motivated: Twitter's blue-tick purge targets leadership of BJP's spiritual mentor RSS
In addition to the personal account of the country's Vice President, Twitter also removed the verified status of RSS chief Dr. Mohan Bhagwat and his colleagues Suresh Soni, Arun Kumar, Suresh Joshi and Krishna Kumar. While Naidu's verified badge was restored within hours owing to ensuing controversy, the same courtesy wasn't extended to the accounts belonging to the RSS leadership as of this writing.
Cheap shot: Twitter is playing a dangerous partisan game with BJP leadership
This makes Twitter's actions targeting BJP leadership especially dangerous, since it allows impersonators to capitalize on the opportunity and potentially jeopardize not only the country's internal security but also its foreign relations. The revocation of the official verification can be interpreted as a move on Twitter's part to erase the trust between users of the platform and the country's leadership.
Fact: RSS explains why its accounts were inactive
"Twitter's rule says that if you have not logged in for the past six months, the account will be considered inactive and verification status will be withdrawn. All the RSS leaders had not tweeted anything in a while. Their accounts were created to avoid impersonation."
Partisan move: Twitter seems to have specifically targeted BJP, RSS leadership
While it could be argued that the faux pas was due to careless automation of the new Twitter verification rules that allow the removal of verified badges for inactive accounts, that isn't really the case. Although Naidu's personal account has been inactive, many users rightly pointed out that several verified Twitter users retained their badges despite longer periods of inactivity.
Won’t end well: Twitter's war with government simmers as the platform remains defiant
The blue tick purge clearly seems to be a politically motivated partisan move by Twitter following its rapidly escalating feud with the Indian government over the new IT Rules, 2021 that went into effect since May 25. Earlier this month, the Delhi Police raided Twitter's offices in a separate incident where the microblogging site targeted a post belonging to the BJP spokesman.
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