Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal took to his account to protest the deletion of several AAP accounts after the social media company changed its anti-abuse algorithm.
Three days ago, Twitter had said that it was putting in more safeguards against abuse and manipulation on its platform — a very widespread complaint.
“This week we’re introducing additional updates that leverage our technology to reduce abusive content,” Ed Ho, head of engineering at the company had said on Wednesday.
The social network had also become a tool for corporations, political parties and agencies that sell ‘influence’ services to manipulate.
Many ‘social media agencies’, for example, offer to make products, names and hashtags ‘trend’ on the medium in return for money.
Even the anti-abuse measures are often abused. A political party, for example, could direct its followers to report an account of a rival party’s supporter for abuse, which would get the target account taken down for review.
The network has been looking to crack down on abuse for some time.
“Whats wrong with @TwitterIndia. Why r they suspending AAP accounts and those of its supporters almost on a daily basis,” Kejriwal asked.
Many political parties have ‘social media operations’ that aim to amplify their messages through retweets and shares. Some accounts, for example, were being used to automatically attach pro-AAP messages to any tweets sent out by the official account of the Prime Minister of India.
Similarly, BJP leader and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reported to have lost ‘hundreds of thousands’ of followers in a single day in early November, reportedly as a result of a similar clean-up by Twitter.
Even as Kejriwal tweeted his protest, the top ‘trending topics’ on Twitter in India were all related to political parties.
The hashtag ‘VoteForCycle’ was supportive of the Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh, which was followed by ‘UP votes for Congress’ and ‘AAP rises in Haryana’ (see picture).
Kejriwal has been the biggest user of social media, particularly Twitter. The Delhi chief minister has 10.5 mln followers — almost 1% of India’s population — and uses his account to liberally taunt political rivals and push his political agenda.
Even though Narendra Modi has even more followers — 27.5 million — it is Kejriwal who follows a more ‘conversational style’ on the medium.