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Twitter flags Indian politician’s years-old tweet for violating its policy

Twitter has flagged a post from Indian politician T. Raja Singh for violating its policy days after TechCrunch asked the social giant about the three-year-old questionable tweet.

In a video tweet, Singh urged India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and others citizens in the country to move Rohingya Muslim immigrants, including those “who supported terrorism,” out of the nation as he feared that they would become a “headache for the nation” in the future. “#Deport RohingyaMuslims,” he tweeted.

Singh, who belongs to India’s ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party and has made hateful speeches in public appearances in the past, also urged his followers to make his tweet “viral” on the platform so that every “Hindu and [other] Indians” see it. He did not respond to a request for comment.

It’s a similar message that Singh had also posted on Facebook, which ultimately led the Menlo Park-headquartered firm to permanently ban him from the platform.

Facebook has received some of the harshest backlash it has seen to date in the country in part for its initial inaction on Singh’s posts. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that a top Facebook executive in India had decided to not take action on Singh’s posts as she feared it could hurt the company’s business prospects in the country.

In a statement to TechCrunch, a Twitter spokesperson said that Singh’s tweet was “actioned” for violating its hateful conduct policy.

“Twitter has zero-tolerance policies in place to address threats of violence, abuse and harassment, and hateful conduct. If we identify accounts that violate these rules, we’ll take enforcement action,” the spokesperson added.

Another similar tweet, which TechCrunch did not report to Twitter, still lives.

I request @rajnathsingh & @KirenRijiju to quickly start the process of deporting #RohingyaMuslims its a big threat to India’s security https://t.co/1eIUJh3qWF

— Raja Singh (@TigerRajaSingh) September 13, 2017

A September 13 tweet, which Singh has retweeted from his account, shows a warning message from Twitter that says his account was locked for the aforementioned tweet. Singh has posted several tweets since September 13, suggesting the matter has been resolved. The aforementioned tweet still shows it is in violation of Twitter rules.

The slow reactions from Twitter and Facebook, both of which count India as an important market, illustrates lapses in their content moderation efforts in the world’s second largest market.

Twitter, which had about 70 million monthly active users on its official app in India last month (according to mobile insights firm App Annie, data of which an industry executive shared with TechCrunch), has been particularly slow — or unresponsive — in the country in taking actions despite reports from users.

In January, India’s ruling party was accused of running a deceptive Twitter campaign to gain support for a controversial lawnothing new for Twitter in India — but the company never responded to questions. A month before that, snowfall in Kashmir, a highly sensitive region that hasn’t had internet connection for months, began trending on Twitter in the U.S. It mysteriously disappeared after many journalists questioned how it made it to the list.

A Twitter spokesperson in India pointed TechCrunch to an FAQ article at the time that explained how Trending Topics work. Nothing in the FAQ article addressed the question.


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