Hyderabad: ‘We Are Hyderabad’, a popular Twitter handle with over 35,000 followers, was temporarily suspended from Sunday night to Monday noon.The administrator of the page was shocked to receive a message from Twitter stating that his account was being suspended for violating the forum’s rules. Kambampati Anurag, the founder of We Are Hyderabad, says, “Twitter has recently launched a bot algorithm to go through all the posts on the site.
Apparently, a joke posted in 2016 was found to be offensive and was flagged by the bot, which led to the suspension. I filled out a support form stating that the account followed a multi-curator system and I got a reply from Twitter almost immediately.” The Twitter page was handled by curators in rotation until the beginning of 2017; the account had a new administrator posting content every week. “We had made it this way so that followers would get to read perspectives. Each curator would talk about their experiences,” says Anurag.
With over 25,000 tweets about the city, the handle is followed by thousands of residents of Hyderabad. People often use the hashtag #WeareHyderabad while tweeting about incidents occurring in the city.
The page focuses on civic issues, popular tourist spots and food joints. It also shares photos of various locations in the city. It helps generate awareness about applications created for the general public by the Hyderabad Police and other welfare bodies.
Meanwhile, not all accounts that have been suspended have been promptly restored. “It is not a matter of followers. I have a close friend, Usha, who has over 120,000 followers and her account has been suspended. Despite following the same procedure as me, she has not received a response from Twitter saying that her account will be restored,” says Anurag.
Anibrith Bhatt, a techie, says, “I had over 8,000 followers because I am avid photographer. I would share photos of Hyderabad from my account. I wrote a review after watching a Tamil movie and it read, ‘Will kill the person in charge of making this movie.’ My account was permanently deleted after that; I was told that the tweet violated Twitter’s policy on violence.”
Several citizens have complained of their accounts being suspended for sharing songs or movie trailers without the credits, which constitutes a violation of copyright. The bot algorithm is also checking whether people are logging in to Twitter via third-party apps. Many accounts have also been suspended for sharing political jokes or opinion.
Roshan Madke, a student, says, “Mass reporting of a tweet takes place if a political opinion is shared. Many people have made their accounts private because of this. People have to be more tolerant as well as more sensitive. People even report tweets if someone speaks out against their favourite actor. Twitter's suspension policy is serious and cannot be taken lightly.”
Twitter’s policy of "not posting something that hurts the sentiments of others” works in favour of those who report tweets.
Twitter users have started using third-party apps like Tweet Wipe to find all their tweets that may possibly be in violation of the rules of Twitter so that they may delete them and avoid suspension of their accounts.