The viral tweets asked the police to shoot protesters in India


Calls to “shoot” at the protesting farmers Controversial agrarian reforms In India for hours on Twitter on Tuesday, the platform was flooded with thousands of tweets encouraging police brutality against them.

violence Lather In the Indian capital on Tuesday after thousands of farmers, who have been camping in the suburbs of New Delhi for nearly two months to protest government agrarian reforms that they say will harm their livelihoods, entered the city and clashed with police. Protesters broke through police barriers around the city and stormed the Red Fort, a National Historic Monument. Police used heavy batons and tear gas shells. The authorities have also shut down internet access in parts of the capital, which officials in India have said Often do To crush the protests. At least one protester died.

On Twitter, supporters of the Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the protesting farmers as “terrorists” and encouraged the police to use brutality against them. “They are not farmers. They are worms, wearing fake masks to farmers,” Read one of the viral tweets, which used the hashtag “#shoot”. Another tweet, referring to the Indian Home Minister and Modi’s right-hand man in charge of law and order in the country, said: “Asking AmitShah to #shoot on the horizon is the only option.”

“Club them, Delhi Police,” editor of the pro-government propaganda blog chirp In hindi. “we are with you.”

On Tuesday morning, one of the most popular topics on the stage in India was “Shoot”, along with the Hindi phrase “Dilli Police lath bajao” – which loosely translates to “Delhi Police, hit them with your clubs”.

The song “Shoot” remained in the “Trending Contents” section of Twitter in India for at least two hours. It only disappeared after there was a public outcry and after BuzzFeed News sent out an email requesting comment. The company also deleted the blog editor’s tweet, saying it violated Twitter’s rules, and suspended her account for 12 hours. However, the Hindi phrase encouraging the police to use batons remained a popular topic for at least another hour. A search for “#shoot” revealed hundreds of tweets calling on the police to shoot protesters.

“We have taken steps today to protect the conversation on our servers from attempts Incitement to violence and abuse And the Threats It can lead to risks Offline damage, A Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “Our team will take over Powerful application Act wisely and impartially regarding the content, trends, tweets, and accounts that are violating Twitter Rules. We strongly encourage everyone on the service to become familiar with the Twitter Rules and Transfer Anything they think is contrary. We are monitoring the situation closely and remain vigilant. “

A day later, Twitter released a new statement saying it had suspended more than 300 accounts involved in spam and tampering with the platform. “We are monitoring the situation closely and remain vigilant, and we strongly encourage service workers to report anything they think violates the rules,” the company said.

In the United States, multiple technology platforms Including Twitter Former President Donald Trump was banned permanently from the podium after his supporters stormed the US Capitol earlier this month. Trump was banned from the podium “due to the risk of further violence,” chirp Vijaya Jadi, Twitter’s Chief Legal, Policy, Trust & Safety Affairs. Last year, the company developed Warning sticker In one of the former president’s posts about the Minneapolis protests, she said:[When] The looting begins and the shooting begins. “

But experts have argued that Silicon Valley-based companies like Twitter and Facebook have them double standard When it comes to imposing their own policies globally. In non-Western countries like India, which has been sliding into authoritarianism under the Modi government over the past few years, technology platforms often move slowly or Don’t take any action Against people who use it as a weapon to cause harm in the real world.

Last year, for example, Twitter launched dozens of tweets Duxing Hindu and interfaith Muslim couples remain on the platform until BuzzFeed News asks the company about them. In December, protesters gathered outside Facebook headquarters Menlo Park, California, claiming the social network was so. Censorship of content Posted in support of Indian farmers protesting. And The Wall Street Journal mentioned Ankh Das, a senior Facebook executive in India, has prevented the company from taking action against a politician who belongs to Modi’s party for posting hate speech, saying that doing so would harm the company’s business interests.

“Powerful interests everywhere have learned that Silicon Valley tools can be used to ignite human rights, but the only time the platforms care is when they are exposed to bad press,” Avia Zweb, advocacy director at Reset, a technology policy nonprofit that aims to tackle the information crisis Created by tech platforms, according to BuzzFeed News.

“When Silicon Valley has to choose between protecting commercial interests or protecting human rights, they will choose the former,” she added. “The truth is that their current business model is fundamentally incompatible with democracy and freedom because a determined dwarf army in the camp of those in power can only hijack the stage to demand violence.”

Jade did not respond to a request for comment, and Twitter declined to answer whether accounts in India promoting violence would be banned permanently.

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