Twitter is on a roll right now. The Indian Government has raised the issue of abuse on Twitter, asking the micro-blogging website to ensure that there is no such misuse of the platform by any “foreign” elements during the upcoming general elections.
Regarding this, union minister for electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad, in a meeting with Twitter’s global head of policy Colin Crowell, added that “Twitter should not be abused by sinister forces including “foreign” elements to derail fairness of democracy”.
With this, Crowell also added that the platform is doubling down on its efforts to curb fake accounts and malicious content.
Here, Prasad also added that “We are very proud of expansion of Twitter in India. But I have flagged one concern… I have cautioned them. The government doesn’t believe in control at all, and I have suggested that they should have a form of an internal regulatory mechanism (to cut down on abuse)”.
Along with this, he also expressed his concern about abuse of Twitter for encouraging terrorism and communalism and hatred.
To look back, for the last one year, social media companies including Twitter and Facebook have come under the aegis of their lack of checks and balances that might have led to influence the US presidential elections in 2017.
On a recent visit to India, Crowell regarded that the company has focussed on “malicious automation”, and thus the company is now challenging 6.4 million accounts a week to access whether they are automated or real human beings.
It is also derailing that there are 5,30,000 suspicious logins a day on Twitter. To this, Crowell added, “That’s a significant increase in the commitment we are making to deal with this issue because we see that as a vulnerability in the election type context. We are also doubling down on the commitment that we make in markets like India, which are significant, have elections underway during the course of the year. We want to make sure that the elections are open, they are fair and that is reflected on Twitter.”
This micro-blogging honcho has taken down 10 times the number of accounts in 2017 compared to what it had in the previous year and is also deploying a combination of machine learning and human beings to create a safe space.
To this Crowell added that “In January, our CEO announced that abuse and harassment was the number one issue that we will address. In the last 12 months, we have instituted some twenty-five product and rule changes to help in that fight”.
Again, during this meeting with Prasad, Crowell suggested that the Election Commission of India should be a part of Twitter. The discussions here stated that, “I highlighted that one entity that will be great to have on Twitter will be the Election Commission itself because as we go into the elections in different states, its important for the voice of the Commission to be also present and that’s something we will follow up with the Commission as we go.”
Twitter runs a programme called Twitter Seva in India for which it partners with various state police and government departments for citizen engagement. Crowell and Prasad also discussed the need for local language adoption on Twitter. Lastly, Prasad concluded, that “I see a great market for Twitter in Indian local languages”.