Social media giants have been facing scrutiny over the power they hold to sway public opinion after President Trump’s account was banned from all major platforms. The effect has spilled over to the other side of the globe as well, as Twitter executives were questioned today over removal of Home Minister Amit Shah’s account in November in a parliamentary meeting.
Facebook and Twitter had been called to appear before a panel in regards to safeguarding citizens’ rights, preventing misuse of social news media platforms and women security in the digital space. This is not the first meeting of its style that has taken place in the last few months. Facebook has been facing excessive pressure from political powers in India, after a WSJ report claimed that the social media company favored the ruling party-BJP. In fact, Facebook was questioned on its content moderation bias in a meeting on September 2.
Today’s meeting was different, as the panel took on the task of questioning Twitter executives, asking why the company had suspended Amit Shah’s account in November. The company said that the decision was taken due to a copyright issue, claiming that it was an “inadvertent error”.
“This decision was reversed immediately and the account is fully functional,” a spokesperson said.
There has been a rising concern about social media platforms dissenting speech after the Trump ban. Today’s questioning was a response of that concern. However, it seems like the decision to ban the Home Minister’s account was a mistake, and not a decision made actively.
Trump played a significant part in the Capitol building riot by talking about conspiracy theories pertaining to election fraud and inciting hatred among his followers. Moreover, he released a video in which he failed to condemn the rioters, and gently encouraged the group to return home, calling them “special”. After this, both Facebook and Twitter banned his account for a few hours. Later on, both companies completely suspended the former President’s accounts.