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Twitter faces users' ire in India, hashtag to sack its MD trends, later mysteriously vanishes

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Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

NEW DELHI: 'Sack Manish Maheshwari', was trending on Twitter in India on Saturday, in a unique fightback against the company.

Maheshwari is the MD of the social media giant in India. Users were upset due to Twitter's allegedly arbitrary action against users while remaining soft on hate-peddlers.

After senior journalist Dilip Mandal's account was restricted, he led the online fightback--taking on Twitter on its own platform. Hundreds used the hashtag #SackManishMaheshwari. 

Soon it was trending at the top and went from eighth to third in India, in no time. This created a buzz on the social media. But it suddenly vanished. Activists got suspicious and felt that Twitter had removed the 'trend' though in the past hateful and discriminatory tweets were not removed despite huge outcry.

The main grouse is that Twitter doesn't stop hate speech, gives space to hate-peddlers and remains soft on people who repeatedly violate Twitter's norms but is extremely harsh on marginalized sections, Dalits, Muslims, Backwards, Tribals and users from these groups. Later in the day, the users also trended #CasteistTwitter.

In fact, it has been noted repeatedly that those who have been making hateful statements are often 'verified' by Twitter. Strangely, accounts belonging to other sections are promptly blocked or restricted even if there is no violation. A demand for social audit of Twitter India (lack of representation of several major communities and caste groups in the company) has also been raised and its CEO has been urged to look into it. 

READCitizens' statement against Twitter for failing to check hate, offensive content on its platform

The recent statement against Twitter India that was released last month said that, "hate speech is flourishing on Twitter and the society is being divided on religious lines, there are attempts to disrupt hramony but instead of taking action, Twitter remains indifferent towards the problem. Despite reporting such accounts, they remain active..." 

Users who constantly give threats, spread fake news or misuse the platform to peddle hate are not blocked or stopped. This is the reason, people have taken a strong stand. Recently, over 250 prominent persons including activists, educationalists, journalists had issued a statement against Twitter India, and asked it to stop hate on its platform. 

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Journalist for more than 20 years. Had started his career with National Mail in the nineties. Worked as Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, as an Assistant Editor with DB Post, later Contributing Editor with The Huffington Post, writes for First Post, The Wire, Newsd & several other major publications.