After Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wrote to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal claiming that his follower count had suddenly dropped, the microblogging platform said today that the numbers are “meaningful and accurate”. After this, Twitter’s spokesperson has responded to it.
Twitter has a zero-tolerance approach to platform manipulation and spam, the spokesperson said.
“We fight spam and malicious automation strategically and at scale with machine learning tools, and as part of those consistent and ongoing efforts to ensure a healthy service and credible accounts, follower counts can and do fluctuate,” the Twitter spokesperson told news agency ANI.
This comes after Rahul Gandhi wrote to the platform’s newly appointed CEO Parag Agrawal last month, claiming that it was ‘’perplexing’’ that the growth in his Twitter followers had suddenly been suppressed and Twitter was perhaps unwittingly complicit in “curbing free and fair speech” in India.
Rahul Gandhi - in his letter dated December 27, 2021 - said that the average number of his new monthly Twitter followers had fallen to almost zero since August 2021. ''In May 2021, my account gained roughly 6,40,000 new followers. This had been the case for several years until July 2021,” said the former Congress President in the letter.
With nearly 20 million followers, Gandhi's Twitter account had been ''very active'', adding an average of eight to ten thousand new followers every day.
During that time the Congress leader had “raised the plight of a rape victim’s family in Delhi, stood in solidarity with farmers and fought the government on many other human rights issues.”
“My account was even blocked for a few days for no legitimate reason. There were many other Twitter handles, including government ones, which had tweeted similar photos of the same people. None of these accounts were blocked. My account was singularly targeted,” he said.
Social media platforms like Twitter have become an important channel to raise people’s issues and hold the government to account, according to Gandhi.
He added that Twitter should not become a “pawn in the destruction of the idea of India” and argued that it has an “enormous responsibility to ensure that it does not actively help in the growth of authoritarianism in India.”In its response, Twitter highlighted that it removes millions of accounts each week for violating the company’s policies on platform manipulation and spam.