Elon Musk replies to TNI’s Rohan Dua; agrees Twitter was influenced in India

The New Indian Editors have incessantly waged a war against the biased and compromised space that Twitter was until Elon Musk took over. Last year, around the same time, Editor-in-Chief Aarti Tikoo took Twitter to Court after the website blocked her account for tweeting about terrorists threatening her brother.

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By: TNI Team
Updated: 17 December, 2022 4:19 pm IST

Elon Musk responded to The New Indian Executive Editor Rohan Dua’s observation on Saturday that Twitter India continues to be in the clutches of a certain political ideology despite takeover of the micro-blogging site by the millionaire ushering in hopes of a level playing ground and greater diversity of opinion.

“@elonmusk must be informed how @twitterindia employees are still offering best salon & spa services to the Left Liberal gang and stopping our reach to ensure we don’t rally behind the Musk team. Same ecosystem before Musk dominating,” he tweeted.

Musk agreed with this observation and responded to Dua saying, “Interesting. This seems to have happened in every country.”

This acknowledgement by Musk is a significant development in the light of the revelations brought forth by Twitter files that have exposed the arbitrary and biased content policy framed by its former top executives. It showed how some of the most powerful officials at the organisation  used personal agenda to give edge to one particular political party and ideology meddling with something as sacrosanct as an election in a democracy.

Many Indian influencers and Twitter talking heads have long held that a similar bias exists at Twitter India and that the parent company must investigate the matter, just as it is exposing the malpractices at Twitter Headquarters in the US

Dua was responding to fact-checker Vijay Patel’s tweet complaining that his tweets are being mass reported thus shrinking his reach. “My tweets are not getting reached due to mass reporting. If you are seeing this tweet please reply or retweet and open my profile for once so you can get my tweets on your TL regular. Thank you.”  To this Dua wrote, “Saw your tweet for the first time after Gujarat elections. @elonmusk must be informed how @twitterindia employees are still offering the best salon & spa services to the Left Liberal gang and stopping our reach to ensure we don’t rally behind the Musk team. Same ecosystem before Musk dominating.”

Thanking Musk for taking note of the deep seated problem in the Twitter India ecosystem, in a subsequent tweet Dua wrote, “Thank you Mr Musk for at least recognising prob. We tried to raise concerns but all appeals fell on deaf ears in past. There was a concerted effort by fixers & wheelers-dealers in Twitter India who took money under the table to suit an ideology, hurting revenue & sentiments both.(sic)”

The New Indian Editors have incessantly waged a war against the biased and compromised space that Twitter was until Elon Musk took over. Last year, around the same time, Editor-in-Chief Aarti Tikoo took Twitter to Court after the website blocked her account.

Twitter had restrained Aarti Tikoo’s account on December 15 last year for a tweet seeking protection from the Home Ministry for her brother who lives in Srinagar. Her brother Sahil Tikoo had faced open threats from terrorists on Twitter. Tikoo had demanded protection and safety for her brother. Sahil was the spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha’s Jammu and Kashmir unit, at the time. He quit BJP after persistent threats to his life and family.

“My brother Sahil Tikoo who lives in Srinagar is being openly threatened by jihadis terrorists sitting in Kashmir-India, their handles in Pakistan, the UK, and the US. Is anyone watching? Are we sitting ducks waiting to be shot dead by Islamists or will you crack down on them? HMO India,” she had tweeted.

However, the tweet was deleted on account of ‘violation of rules’ against ‘hateful conduct.’ Further, her account was temporarily blocked from making further posts. Tikoo’s post was interpreted as hateful speech, under which, users are not allowed to “promote violence against, threaten or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or serious disease.”

Thereafter, she approached the Delhi High Court, seeking its direction to the Government of India to intervene in the matter and restore her social media account. Within a week, Twitter wrote to Tikoo’s lawyer Mukesh Sharma informing that her account has been restored. The company also requested her to withdraw her petition in the High Court.

Under its erstwhile proprietorship, Twitter faced regular criticism over its content moderation policies. The Republicans have long maintained that bias ran deep in the organisation giving undue advantage to one particular party and narrative, which led to the suspension of accounts of several prominent members of the party — including former US President Donald Trump.

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