Twitter is finding new ways to censor political opinion it is not fond of. After making biased censorship the norm on the platform, Twitter appears to have decided to censor tweets that expose liberal hypocrisy. The latest instance featured the controversy around the photograph of dead Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui.
On the 16th of July, Twitter user Yosha (username @BlackDrug) shared the screenshot of a conversation on her account where she pointed out the hypocrisy of ‘liberal intellectuals’. She used the tweets of Stuti Mishra, journalist with The Independent, to point how liberals claimed that the photograph of Siddiqui’s corpse would hurt sentiments but do not think twice before using photographs of funeral pyres to score political points.
Yosha had used the following two screenshots in her tweet:
Initially, the screenshots were labelled ‘sensitive media’.
But on 18th July, Yosha was notified that her tweet violated Twitter rules against “abuse and harassment”. According to Twitter, Yosha engaged in “targeted harassment”. Consequently, her account has been locked for 12 hours.
But the Twitter censorship went beyond only Yosha’s tweet. The platform is forcing people to remove tweets where they had quote-tweeted the above tweet by Yosha. On the 18th of July, this journalist had his account locked for the same.
As can be seen, the tweet did not contain any image and comprised only of four words. Twitter claimed that a tweet that did not contain any image violated “rules against posting media depicting the moment of death of an individual”. Perhaps, it was motivated by the images in Yosha’s tweet but even makes little sense as the her tweet itself was said to violate “abuse and harassment” rules, not the rule related to dead body photographs.
The rules that this journalist’s account was claimed to violate is bizarre and exists from 2019. According to the rules, the platform may remove media that “takes pleasure in the suffering of the deceased” or “laughs at or otherwise mocks the deceased”.
But it is not clear how a tweet that does not contain any image would violate a rule specifically for tweets that contain images. This instance marks a great escalation in Twitter censorship. The platform has basically decided to censor tweets that expose liberal hypocrisy. Now, not only does the platform assist liberals gain a wider reach for their propaganda but they will silence others who expose their agenda. The censorship is as political as it gets.
Danish Siddiqui was killed by the Taliban during clashes with Afghanistan. Following his death, a photograph of his dead body began to circulate on social media. Journalists wanted people to not circulate the photograph because it was apparently disrespectful, after using photographs of funeral pyres for their politics. Twitter appears to have accommodated their interests by censoring those who exposed their hypocrisy.
It also further elucidates the fact that there are no rules anymore because they are applied selectively, based on the political preferences of the individual; which again marks a very dangerous turn of events.