One of India’s best-known female journalists, Barkha Dutt, yesterday criticized Twitter for temporarily locking her account after she posted details of men who allegedly stalked and threatened her.
Dutt said that some people had posted and circulated her telephone number on Twitter, enabling the harassment, which she said included threats of rape and images of genitalia being sent to her phone.
Dutt on Monday tweeted some of the threats and images, including telephone numbers and names of the men who allegedly threatened her, after which her account was suspended.
She posted her complaint against Twitter in a tweet yesterday, after her account was reactivated.
“I would like to place on record my absolute horror and disgust at Twitter’s encouragement of sexual abuse and gender inequality,” said Dutt, a former managing editor at news channel NDTV and a regular columnist with the Washington Post.
Dutt accused Twitter of being “vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence.”
Twitter said it does not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons, and referred to its rules that users may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission.
“If we identify a tweet that violates the Twitter rules, there are a range of enforcement options we may pursue. These include requiring a user to delete a Tweet, and/or being temporarily locked out of their account before they can tweet again,” a spokeswoman for Twitter said in an e-mail.
The social media platform is already facing scrutiny in India.
Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey has been called to appear before a parliamentary panel this month to discuss initiatives being taken to safeguard citizen’s rights on social media and online news platforms.
The hearing comes soon after the conservative Youth for Social Media Democracy group accused Twitter of left-wing bias and protested outside its office in New Delhi this month.
Dorsey did not appear at a hearing earlier this month.
A person with direct knowledge of the matter said that the parliamentary panel had written an e-mail to Dorsey, reiterating its demand that he appear at a hearing on Monday next week.
Twitter declined to comment on whether Dorsey would attend.
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