Monday, April 22, 2024

Twitter dragged to court over alleged “double standards”

Twitter has been dragged to courts because of what petitioners believe are “double standards.”

The petitioners, twitter handles “Wokeflix” and “Bharadwaj Speaks” had their pleas heard in the Delhi High Court yesterday over their suspension by the social media platform. 

Advocates Raghav Awasthi and Mukesh Sharma, pleading the two cases against Twitter’s alleged political bias in suspending their accounts. 

The petitioners argued that their accounts on Twitter have been suspended because they belong to a particular political persuasion. Wokeflix is a popular page that published political satires and memes on daily affairs. 

Bharadwaj speaks in its earlier avatar ‘TrueIndology’ has faced the wrath of multiple suspensions for being an authoritative historical fact-checker page that was famous for taking on left-wing historians. 

The advocates made a case that Twitter may play a partisan role in general elections in 2024, with its current biased policy.

“If tech giants are not injuncted against not following law of the land, consequences for our democracy would be quite severe,” argued the petitioners while telling the Court that western experience suggests that tech giants are often “weaponized” in political discourse. 

“As students of Indian history, the petitioner would like to underscore that even the East India Company entered the country as a trading corporation in the 17th century before it went out to attain paramountcy in Indian affairs by the 19th century,” the accounts stated.

The petitioners argued that Twitter often perpetuates “Double Standards”, in a policy where “Hindu sentiments are allowed to be ridden roughshod over whereas sentiments of other communities are treated with kid gloves.” The advocates further stated before Delhi High Court that, “Twitter is aiding and abetting in the normalisation of genocidal tyrants like Aurangzeb who was responsible for killing 4 million Hindus & adjusted for population levels, is higher than the number of victims Holocaust perpetrated.”

The suspended handles put out instances where Twitter allowed posts and visual references on the platform which had strict racist undertones and snide remarks against Hindu Gods and Goddesses. One of the Bangladeshi handles had recently put out a graphic comparing Indian women who wear bindis to bitches. Comments calling 17th-century genocidal warmonger Aurangzeb ‘the most based Emperor” are allowed to be published on Twitter. “Whether the respondent would allow posts extolling Adolf Hitler and others by neo-Nazi extremists? If the answer is negative then we must ask ourselves as to why similar courtesy cannot be extended to Hindus in this country,” the advocates argued.

The handles in their petition argued that Twitter has an anti-Hindu bias that perpetuates double standards with its regulatory actions.

“In a country where 80 per cent of the population is Hindu, the aforesaid community cannot be treated as children of a lesser God,” argued the petitioner while making a case about Twitter’s algorithmic bias against Hindus.

The hearing before the Delhi High Court is part of an ongoing case against sudden arbitrary suspension of Twitter handles like Wokeflix, Bharadwajspeaks, Megh Bulletin, Befitting Facts and others. 

The Central government has filed an affidavit in the case where they have reiterated that social media platforms have to give a fair chance to users, and they cannot be suspending their accounts on flimsy grounds.

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