The suspension of singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya’s Twitter account after forcing BJP MP Paresh Rawal to delete a controversial tweet against author Arundhati Roy indicates that Twitter India is finally taking note of its user’s behaviour. Until now, it appeared to be very easy to get away with abuses, personal insults, hate speech and harassment on Twitter. But with the recent action by Twitter India on verified handles mean it is seriously considering a much-needed clean up on its platform to retain people who matter and negate abusive behaviour.
So, before you tweet or reply from your handle–irrespective of the number of followers you have—note that Twitter has all the right to take down content that violates its rules. These rules are hiding in plain sight but very few users seem to know about them. On joining Twitter after checking the terms and conditions, you have to agress “to protect the experience and safety of people who use Twitter” and abusive behaviour is certainly not welcome.
If you are wondering how can Twitter suspend the verified account of Abhijeet Bhattacharya or force BJP MP Paresh Rawal to delete a tweet, then here is how Twitter India is justifying its action. Even if Sonu Nigam with seven million followers, in an act of protest, decides to quit Twitter, the rules do not change. Take it or leave it.
Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.
Harassment: You may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Some of the factors that we may consider when evaluating abusive behavior include:
-if a primary purpose of the reported account is to harass or send abusive messages to others;
-if the reported behavior is one-sided or includes threats;
-if the reported account is inciting others to harass another account; and
-if the reported account is sending harassing messages to an account from multiple accounts.
You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.
This is just a part of Twitter’s rules against abusive behaviour. To read the entire post, visit the support page. In both the cases, Abhijeet Bhattacharya and Paresh Rawal, the user have violated any one or multiple rules highlighted above. And as the rule book says, Twitter has all the rights to take action. However, how, when and on what content Twitter decides to act is totally their decision.
First things first. Simply tweeting screenshots or tagging Twitter or Twitter support to get relief from abusive behaviour will not help. Twitter has a dedicated support page for someone who is a victim of abusive or harassing behaviour. Users will have to fill in a form to request Twitter to review the particular case. Visit here to report abusive behaviour.