New Delhi: Twitter has landed in a casteism row with thousands of users accusing the micro-blogging platform of not verifying active accounts of people from the lower caste and minority. Currently, #cancelAllBlueTicksinIndia campaign is trending globally as well as in India with over 24,000 tweets urging the platform to do away with its verification process (blue ticks).
The verified blue badge on Twitter helps increase the authenticity and accountability of a user making his/her voice heard digitally.
The issue began on 1 November when restrictions were placed on the verified Twitter account of Dilip Mandal who is an adjunct professor at the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication and a senior columnist. Users expressed their objection to Mandal being banned, and used the hashtag #restoredilipmandal.
The online protest spread to take into account the larger complaints about Twitter’s alleged social discrimination where the platform was accused of doling out blue ticks (Twitter’s way of verifying accounts) to users who belonged to higher caste in the country. Users started using hashtags such as #JaiBhimTwitter (a popular Dalit slogan), #CasteistTwitter, #TwitterHatesSCSTOBCMuslims and #BrahmanicalTwitter to call out Twitter’s caste bias and accused it of communal bigotry.
Meanwhile, Twitter said it is committed towards ensuring inclusion and diversity on its platform. It added that currently their public verification process is closed. However, on a case-by-case basis Twitter does verify people who are active in the public conversation and it works with political parties to verify candidates, elected officials, and relevant party officials around the time of elections.
“Prior to our public verification process being closed, we verified public figures from different caste and tribal groups, civil society and academia," said a Twitter spokesperson in an emailed response to Mint. “Our commitment to inclusion and diversity is fundamental to who we are at Twitter and crucial to the effectiveness of our service. Members of marginalized groups come to Twitter every day to express themselves, shed light on important issues, and join a community of allies."
Twitter said it enforces policies judiciously and impartially for all individuals regardless of their political beliefs, religious ideology, professional position or background. They have ongoing efforts to provide local market context when developing and enforcing their global policies.
“We extensively cover gender and religion (including caste) in our trainings, to provide reviewers with the local context they need to evaluate content. Our Hateful Conduct Policy prohibits behavior that targets individuals based on protected categories (including caste)," the spokesperson added.