Twitter Ban on Trump: BJP’s Tejasvi Surya, Amit Malviya Feeling Unease

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They invoke ‘Freedom of Expression’ and ‘intolerance’ to criticise the social media giant and see in its decision a ‘wake-up call for democracies’

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – A sense of unease is apparent among Bharatiya Janata Party leaders after Donald Trump was banned by Twitter on Friday. At least two vocal voices of the ruling party – Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya and IT Cell head Amit Malviya – criticised the social media giant for its decision to permanently suspend the outgoing US president’s account due to the risk of further incitement of violence following the storming of the US Capitol on January 6.

Interestingly, both the leaders in their reactions on Saturday invoked “Freedom of Expression” and “intolerance”.

Surya viewed Twitter’s decision as a “wake-up call for democracies” and warned of the threat posed by “unregulated” big-tech companies. He even called for a review of the laws governing these firms apparently so that such action is not taken in India.

Surya quoted Twitter’s post – that announced the ban on Trump – and tagged the Union Ministry of Electronics and IT to say, “This must be wake up call for all who don’t yet understand the threat to our democracies by unregulated big tech companies. If they can do this to POTUS, they can do this to anyone. Sooner India reviews intermediaries regulations, better for our democracy.”

Surya posted one more tweet little later in which he talked of “FOE” (freedom of expression) and “statesmanship”. “Sorry dude, I don’t want Twitter to ban anyone – Congressi or BJP or anyone… FoE is sacrosanct. It cannot be curtailed whimsically by pvt big tech companies without accountability. But one certainly can’t expect such statesmanship from a party that imposed Emergency,” he said in response to a tweet by Congress leader Srivatsa.

Incidentally, the young parliamentarian is known for his own incendiary and divisive public speeches. Only a few weeks ago he was heard raising religious passions in Hyderabad amid the campaign for the city municipal election.

Amit Malviya, whose tweet on farmers’ protest was labelled by Twitter as “manipulated media” recently, warned of “dangerous precedent” being set by the social media company.

Malviya has the distinction of being first in India to be called out by Twitter for alleged fake news.

“It has less to do with his views and more to do with intolerance for a differing point,” Malviya tweeted. “Ironically, those who claim to champion free speech are celebrating. Big tech firms are now the new oligarchs.”

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