New Delhi: Among those who took to Twitter to decry the social media site’s permanent suspension of US President Donald Trump – after his broadcasts were deemed capable of inciting future violence – were two Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.
Twitter Inc said on Friday that it has permanently suspended Trump’s account due to the risk of further incitement of violence following the storming of the US Capitol on Wednesday.
The suspension of Trump’s account, which had more than 88 million followers, silences his main tool of outreach and is being decried by quarters as having come too late in the day.
MP Tejasvi Surya – whose tweets the Centre itself had once asked Twitter to delete – denounced the ban imposed on Trump as a “threat to our democracies by unregulated big tech companies”.
Instead of going into the reasons behind the ban, which came after several warnings, Surya went all out in support of Trump.
This must be wake up call for all who don’t yet understand threat to our democracies by unregulated big tech companies.
If they can do this to POTUS, they can do this to anyone.
— Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) January 9, 2021
He was not the only voice in the BJP. Party’s IT cell head Amit Malviya also took to Twitter to claim that Trump was being targeted due to “intolerance” with a different point of view. Malviya has the unique distinction of being the first political personality in India to have his posts flagged for falsehood by Twitter.
Deplatforming Donald Trump, a sitting US president, sets a dangerous precedent.
It has less to do with his views and more to do with intolerance for a differing point. Ironically, those who claim to champion free speech are celebrating.
Big tech firms are now the new oligarchs.
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) January 9, 2021
The ban by Twitter came two days after his supporters stormed Capitol Hill while the formal counting of the electoral college votes was taking place.
Apart from Twitter, Trump was also blocked by Facebook and Instagram. His accounts have been suspended by them till the inauguration of Joe Biden as the next US President on January 20.
Twitter had mentioned that two of Trump’s tweets of January 8 needed to be seen in the context of the message they spread.
Stating that both these tweets went against its ‘Glorification of Violence’ policy, Twitter said, the first of them read: “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!.”
And, the second one, read: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20.”
The platform had also blocked Trump for 12 hours during the violence on January 6. It was the day on which Trump posted a video on Twitter calling his supporters “very special” and repeated his charge of fraud in the US presidential elections.