Viral Tweets Ask Police to Shoot Protesters in India

Farmers protesting against it called for “shooting” controversial agricultural reform in India trended for hours on Twitter on Tuesday, as thousands of tweets inciting police brutality against them flooded the platform.

flaw exploding in the Indian capital on Tuesday after thousands of farmers, who had camped outside New Delhi for nearly two months to protest against the government’s agricultural reforms they said would damage their livelihoods, entered the city and clashed with police. Demonstrators broke through police barricades around the town and stormed the Red Fort, a historic national monument. Police used heavy batons and fired shells of gasoline. Authorities have also shut down internet access in parts of the capital, something Indian officials have revealed. always do to quell the protests. At least one protester was killed.

On Twitter, supporters of India’s nationalist government led by prime minister Narendra Modi, called the protesting farmers “terrorists” and encouraged police brutality against them. “They are not farmers. They are worms, wearing fake farmers ’masks,” read one of the viral tweets, using the hashtag “#shoot. “” Asking @AmitShah #shoot in sight is the only option, “according to another tweet, tagging India’s home minister and Modi’s right-hand man responsible for law and order in the country.

“Hit them with your batista, Delhi police,” the editor of a pro-government propaganda blog said tweet in Hindi. “You’re with us.”

On Tuesday morning, “Shoot” was one of the top fashion topics on the Indian platform, in addition to the Hindi word “Dilli Police lath bajao” – freely translated by “Delhi Police, they hit your kabat. “

“Shoot” remained in the Trending section of Twitter in India for at least two hours. It only disappeared after a public outcry and after an email BuzzFeed News emailed asking for comment. The company also deleted the blog editor’s tweet, saying it violated Twitter’s rules, and suspended his account for 12 hours. However, the phrase No urging police officers to use their batons remained a hot topic even for an hour. A search for “#shoot” revealed hundreds of tweets asking for police to shoot the protesters.

“We have taken steps now to protect the communication of our service from tests encourages violence, abuse and threats that could pose a risk of offline damage, “A Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.” Take our team vigorous enforcement act wisely and indiscriminately on content, trends, Tweets and account violations Twitter Rules. We strongly encourage everyone on the service to familiarize themselves with the Rules of Twitter and report whatever they believe has been violated. We monitored the situation closely and were vigilant. ”

A day later, Twitter released a new statement saying it had suspended more than 300 accounts linked to spam and manipulation of the platform. “We are closely monitoring the situation and remain vigilant, and strongly encourage those in service to report anything believed to be in violation of the laws,” the company said.

In the United States, there are many tech platforms including Twitter Former president Donald Trump has been permanently banned from the platform after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Trump was banned from the platform “because of the risk of further violence,” tweet Vijaya Gadde, legal, policy, and trust and safety on Twitter. Last year, the company placed a warning label in a post by the former chief about the Minneapolis protests that said: “[When] the robbery begins, the shooting begins. “

But experts argue that Silicon Valley -based companies like Twitter and Facebook have double standard when it comes to enforcing their own policies around the world. In non-Western countries like India, which has risen to power under the Modi government over the past few years, tech platforms have always been slow moving or do not move against people who use them as weapons to harm the real world.

For example, last year, Twitter ignored a lot of tweets doxing Hindu-Muslim interfaith couples remained on the platform until BuzzFeed News asked the company about them. In December, protesters gathered outside Menlo Park, California, Facebook’s headquarters, claiming the social network was censoring sulud posted in support of protesting Indian farmers. And the Wall Street Journal reports that Ankhi Das, a chief executive of Facebook in India, prevented the company from taking action against a politician belonging to Modi’s party for posting hate speech, allegedly damaging business interests in the company.

“Strong interests everywhere know that Silicon Valley tools can be used to create a blazing human rights scandal, but the only care the platforms are if their statement breaks down,” he said. Alaphia Zoyab, advocacy manager for Reset, a non -profit tech policy to address the information crisis created by tech platforms, BuzzFeed News told.

“If Silicon Valley has to choose between protecting business interests or protecting human rights, they will choose the former,” he added. “The reality is that their current research business model is incompatible with democracy and freedom because a determined troll army in the camp of those in power can hijack the platform to demand violence.”

Gadde did not respond to a request for comment, and Twitter declined to respond if Indian accounts inciting violence were permanently banned.

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