Blue tick not just a verification mark but a mark of Twitter’s caste bias, say users
Twitter users have made hashtag ‘Cancel all blue ticks in India’ trend, alleging the platform has a bias against Dalits, minorities and other lower castes when it verifies accounts.
New Delhi: There’s digital storm swirling on Twitter over its alleged caste bias, exhibited through who it verifies and who it doesn’t with its tiny blue tick.
The hashtag #cancelallBlueTicksinIndia has been a top trend through Wednesday, with people using it to accuse the platform of being selective on the grounds of one’s political and social/caste bias. The trend follows this week’s protests on Twitter which called out the platform for censoring Dalits and other minorities.
The caste argument
Twitter has been receiving hate since last week after the accounts of Dilip Mandal, senior journalist and Consulting Editor with ThePrint, and Supreme Court Advocate Sanjay Hegde were restricted. Mandal led the online protest accusing Twitter of caste bigotry and suppressing minorities such as Dalits, Muslims and other backward classes.
Mandal, whose Twitter bio mentions he is “against blue tick hierarchy”, alleged that the platform’s policies towards minority classes was comparatively harsher than towards users from the majority.
Hegde also picked a fight with Twitter, which refused to restore his account unless he deleted his tweet sharing a poem by writer Gorakh Pandey. Hegde has refused to do so, and has decided to take the matter to court.
By the weekend, Twitter users actively started protesting against the microblogging site’s policies, accusing it of diminishing and belittling minority voices. Hashtags like #JaiBhimTwitter, #CasteistTwitter became trends that lasted for around 72 hours.
Users demanded CEO Jack Dorsey fire Manish Maheswari, Twitter India’s managing director, throwing up another trending hashtag #SackManishMaheshwari.
Why Jay Shah
The blue tick to Jay Shah’s account, which was created just last October, has also stoked the controversy. Many Twitter users questioned the verification, given that it usually takes at least several months, a sizeable following and consistent Twitter activity to be verified. Jay Shah isn’t new to such criticism; he drew attention when it was alleged he received the BCCI appointment because he is Union Minister Amit Shah’s son.
Right-wing has issues too
While the current issue centres around Twitter’s alleged bias against minorities, earlier this year, users accused the platform of a Right-wing bias.
Members of Youth for Social Media Democracy held protests outside Twitter India’s office in February this year.
But Twitter’s problems with caste go further back to last year in November, when Jack Dorsey, on a trip to India, upset upper-caste Hindus with a photo of him holding a placard that read ‘Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy’.
The company later apologised saying, “neither Twitter nor Dorsey endorsed the sign’s message that the oppression of the Hindu caste system — which places Brahmins at the top — must be dismantled alongside male dominance”.
Courtesy: The Print