Popular social media platform Twitter appears to be in the eye of a storm over alleged casteism. A section of users has reportedly accused it of arbitrary behaviour in verifying the accounts of users, a process alleged to be neglectful of those who happen to be of a “lower caste" or minority group. This seems to have sparked off a #cancelallBlueTicksinIndia campaign, with an estimated 55,500 tweets—at last count—urging the company to do away with its verification process. For the uninitiated, Twitter uses blue ticks to indicate the authenticity of an account. According to another source, online protests were set off by restrictions on the account of an academician that were viewed as unfair.

Twitter has significant reach, and is famous for its frequent use by politicians and celebrities to voice their thoughts. While Twitter’s user base in India is far smaller than that of WhatsApp, opinions aired on it tend to get disproportionately high attention. Whether Twitter has been lax on the account-verification of some people, and not others, and whether this pattern reveals any biases, would be hard to tell without a close look at its internal data.

Yet, it’s worth asking whether doing away with blue ticks altogether is an answer to such a problem (if it turns out to be one in the first place). The demand may work as a point of equality—where all users are equally unverified—but it would also be that much harder for Twitter followers to spot imposter handles. The company, in the meantime, might need to look into the charges being levelled and clarify its verification policy.

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