A week after temporarily suspending his account, Twitter restored Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's handle Saturday, but not before the principal opposition party accused it of bias.
Gandhi's account was temporarily suspended last week after he tweeted pictures of the family of a nine-year-old victim of alleged rape and murder in Northwest Delhi. Twitter deemed it a violation of its rules.
Sources said the Twitter accounts of some of the party leaders who had shared the same pictures have also been restored.
"Rahul Gandhi's Twitter account has been unlocked," a party functionary said, adding the accounts of some of the leaders have also been restored.
The official party handle, meanwhile, put out a short tweet stating "Satyamev Jayate (Truth shall prevail)" with no direct reference to the controversy.
— Congress (@INCIndia) August 14, 2021
The former Congress chief had made a strong outburst on Friday accusing Twitter of "interfering in the national political process" and said shutting down of his handle amounted to an "attack on the country's democratic structure".
Gandhi, in a YouTube video statement titled "Twitter's dangerous game", alleged that it was not a neutral and objective platform and was "beholden to the government.
Questioning Twitter's action, Gandhi had said the company was denying millions of his followers the right to an opinion, which was unfair.
"It's obvious now that Twitter is actually not a neutral, objective platform. It is a biased platform. It's something that listens to what the government of the day says," Gandhi had alleged.
In the wake of the friction with the Congress, Twitter has transferred its India head Manish Maheshwari, against whom an FIR was registered in Uttar Pradesh in connection with a probe related to a video of an alleged hate crime, to the US.
While the company did not specify any reason for the change, it said Maheshwari will move to the US as Senior Director (Revenue Strategy and Operations) and focus on new markets in his new role.
On the subject of the temporary suspension of Gandhi's account, a Twitter spokesperson told News18 that the Congress leader's account was restored after he provided a letter of consent signed by the parents of the victim, whose image had been at the centre of the controversy.
The spokesperson said that Twitter unlocked the account after taking into account the consent letter, however, the tweet continues to remain unavailable in India as per Twitter's 'Country Withheld Policy.'
"As part of the appeal process, @RahulGandhi has submitted a copy of the formal consent/authorisation letter to use the referenced image via our India Grievance Channel. We have followed the necessary due diligence process to review the appeal in order to protect the safety and privacy of the affected individuals. We have updated our enforcement action based on the consent provided by the people depicted in the image. The Tweet is now withheld in India and the account access has been restored. As explained in our Country Withheld Policy, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in accordance with valid legal provisions under the Indian law(s). The withholding actions are limited to the specific jurisdiction/country where the content is determined to be unlawful and remains available elsewhere. Details of the withheld content is published on Lumen notice," they said.