After a near day-long slumber, Twitter appears to have finally woken up to an open murder call on its platform.
Twitter seems to have deleted Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan’s tweet in which he’d asked the the beheading of Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati. Scrolling down to the tweet on Khan’s timeline shows a message saying “This tweet is no longer available”. The link on the message leads to Twitter’s help center, but doesn’t provide any additional information on why the tweet was deleted.
Yesterday, AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan had asked for the beheading of Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati on Twitter. “We absolutely cannot tolerate any insults to the glory of our beloved Prophet. This hateful insect must be severely punished by having his tongue and throat slit,” he had tweeted. Khan, however, had added a rider in the next paragraph. “But Hindustan’s laws don’t permit us to do this. We trust in the nation’s constitution, and I want the Delhi Police take notice of this,” he said. To the tweet, Khan had added a video of Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati allegedly insulting the Prophet.
His tweet had met with instant outrage and calls for deletion, but for nearly a day after being posted, Twitter hadn’t taken any action. This was in stark contrast to how Twitter had permanently banned US President Donald Trump from its platform merely for asking people to remain peaceful during the Capitol Hill riots. After even greater outrage, Twitter now has deleted the tweet — after letting it accumulate more than 9,000 retweets — but Amanutullah Khan’s Twitter account is still up and thriving.
Indian Twitter users would recognize how hypocritical this is — Anand Ranganathan’s account for locked for weeks for merely quoting a verse of the Quran, and Ajeet Bharti had been permanently suspended for simply stating that calling it ‘radical Islamic terror’ wasn’t all that different from calling it ‘Islamic terror’. But here Amanatullah Khan has gave out a call for cold-blooded murder against a specific person, but Twitter not only took nearly 24 hours to delete the Tweet, but also doesn’t seem to have penalized him in the slightest.
This incident would add to the growing evidence of Twitter’s bias towards certain groups of certain groups of people, and against others. The Indian government has already notified guidelines which require social media platforms to be answerable for their actions, and platforms such as Twitter have been given three months to comply. And by letting a naked death threat stay up on its platform, and not penalizing the account subsequently, Twitter has once again reminded India that social media platforms need ever greater regulation — and penalties — than have been currently proposed.