Saturday, September 7, 2019

Twitter “Raj”

Part 2 – The Twitter “Raj”

Continued from Part 1 – Twitter Can “Kill” You

A Spoof

Dear Reader – have you seen the James Bond Movie “Tomorrow Never Dies”…?

“Tomorrow Never Dies” is the 18th James Bond Film – produced in 1997.

The plot of this movie is centered around a power-hungry “Media Mogul” who tries manipulate and influence events to provoke global war to in order to create “advance” headlines for the launch of his latest news channel.

Yes – this “Media Baron” has become so powerful that he can manipulate/influence events globally. This enables him to write headlines and design front pages in advance of big news events – and then make the events happen – in order to boost the Sales and TRP Ratings of his newspapers and TV Channels.

In effect – this “Media Magnate” has become more powerful than governments.

This movie was produced 22 years ago in 1997 – when Social Media (SM) did not exist – and Mainstream Media (MSM) was all powerful.

Today – Social Media (SM) has dethroned Mainstream Media (MSM).

And – of the various Social Media Platforms/Applications – the most powerful is Twitter.

Twitter is a micro-blogging and social-networking service launched 13 years ago in 2006.

Today – Twitter is the largest source of “Breaking News” and a hotbed of World Politics.

Most Powerful People – Heads of Governments/Nations, Political Leaders, Celebrities, Business Tycoons, Intellectuals, Activists – almost all influential people use Twitter (besides the common man).

Organisations extensively use Twitter too – to communicate and for Customer Service and Public Relations (PR).

The entire world has become dependent on Twitter.

Twitter has become all-powerful – like the “Media Mogul” in the James Bond Movie “Tomorrow Never Dies”.

Political Leaders and Heads of Nations have become totally dependent on Twitter.

Earlier – Heads of Nations would announce important decisions via Media Briefings (Press Conferences).

Today – Twitter has replaced the traditional “Press Conference”.

Political Leaders “Tweet” their decisions and views.

This dependence of world leaders on Twitter has given Twitter immense power over them and made them vulnerable to manipulation by Twitter.

It is the same with all people and organisations who are dependent on Twitter.

In the absence of any alternative microblogging platform – Twitter has total monopoly.

Monopoly creates Hegemony.

Thus – Twitter has become tremendously powerful – a hegemony.

There is saying that “Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely”.

Has this syndrome affected Twitter and motivated Twitter to treat its “customers” in a high-handed and arbitrary manner….?

I first realized the arbitrary power of Twitter a few years ago when my first Twitter Account @vikramkarve was hacked.

I observed that a Russian seemed to have hacked my account and was tweeting in Russian language from my Twitter Handle.

My followers noticed these Russian Tweets too and they wondered what was happening.

I took up the issue with Twitter – but nothing happened.

I don’t remember exactly – but to the best of my knowledge – Twitter expressed their inability to restore my account back to me.

I realized that I had lost my Twitter Account and all my followers too.

After a few weeks – as advised by a friend – I opened another Twitter Account with a new Handle @vikramwkarve  

This Twitter Account became popular – and over the years – I gained a lot of followers.

A few days ago – when I opened Twitter in the morning – I saw shocked to see a message on the screen:

“Your account (@vikramwkarve) is currently suspended. For more information, please log into”

I logged on to Twitter.

After perusing the Twitter Rules – I was certain that there was no justification for Twitter to suspend my Account – since I had not violated any Twitter Rules.

Also – Twitter gave no reason for suspending my account suddenly – without any prior intimation – in a most unilateral and arbitrary manner.

Isn’t this action by Twitter against the principles of natural justice….?

Interestingly – in the Twitter Rules – there was a disclaimer – maybe to cover up any mistakes on the part of Twitter:

“Unfortunately, sometimes a real person’s account gets suspended by mistake, and in those cases we’ll work with the person to make sure the account is unsuspended”

Well – if my Twitter Account has been suspended by mistake – why hasn’t Twitter restored it so far despite my following the proper procedure/instructions and filing an appeal to unsuspend my account…?

Yes – I have filed an appeal to unsuspend my account 3 days ago.

In reply to my appeal – all I have received is message from Twitter saying that they are working on it and it may take a few days – a very vague statement without any deadline for restoration of my Twitter Account.

(I would also like to emphasize that Twitter has not given any reason as to why they have suspended my Twitter Account – either prior to suspending my account – or in their email acknowledging my request to unsuspend the account).

(I have described the details in Part 1 of this article -> Twitter Can “Kill” You)

Since there is no way to communicate with Twitter – I do not know whether my Twitter Account will be restored or not – or after how many days it will be restored.

Or – will I lose my Twitter Account @vikramwkarve forever – in the same way as I lost my first Twitter Account @vikramkarve a few years ago…?

My Tweets are my Creative Legacy and my Intellectual Property.

Is it fair for Twitter to obliterate my creative work and destroy my intellectual property in a most arbitrary manner…?

By unfairly suspending my Twitter Account – Twitter has hurt me immensely.

Injustice to one individual may seem insignificant in Twittersphere.

Now – just imagine – if Twitter suddenly suspends the Twitter Account of a prominent person or an important organisation – won’t this cause damage to them and put them at an unfair disadvantage vis-à-vis their competitors and rivals…?

Apart from the “overt” brutal step of suspending accounts – there may be other “covert” subtle ways of manipulation (like “Shadow Banning”).

If deployed against politicians/parties – especially at the time of elections – can’t such overt and covert social media “stratagems” have an impact on the political situation – due to the excessive dependence of politicians and political parties on social media platforms, especially Twitter – considering the immense power and extensive reach of the social media…?

On a broader level – is it not possible to manipulate public opinion by using such social media tactics…?

And worse – suppose the Twitter Account of a “VIP” is hacked…?

Just imagine the consequences.

Isn’t it possible that Fake Tweets from Heads of Governments/Nations may result in devastating consequences…?

If twitter accounts of prominent persons or organisations are hacked and fake malicious tweets are sent out from these accounts – will it not ruin reputations, affect relations and influence situations….?  

If you think that hacking Twitter Accounts of “VIPs” is not possible – let me tell you that a few days ago there was news that the Twitter Account of the Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was hacked.

If the Twitter CEO can’t protect his own Twitter Account – what can one say about the security of other accounts…?

I don’t know if it is true – but someone told me that it is automated “bots” who take important decisions like suspending accounts.

If this is true – it is indeed a scary situation – where control of the Social Media has been handed over to “machines”.

The Moot Question is:

Is there any control on Social Media – especially powerful platforms like Twitter which have tremendous influence…?

Are most governments clueless about how to control the Social Media…?

And – those who have a clue – are they helpless – as they fear that the powerful and influential Social Media can exploit their dependence on the Social Media by overt and covert means…?

Does the judiciary have jurisdiction on Social Media Platforms which are based in Foreign Countries…?

Who has jurisdiction over Social Media, especially Twitter…?

Why are the “powers that be” unable to break the monopoly of the few Social Media Giants who rule the roost – like Twitter – who enjoys total monopoly on microblogging…?

It seems that the only country which has been able to control Social Media is China.  

The majority of Western social media platforms are blocked in China, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and many others.

Also – in China – there are alternate multiple local Social Media Platforms like WeChat, Weibo etc in lieu of Facebook, Twitter etc.

While one doesn’t advocate extreme steps like banning of Social Media Platforms – why can’t other countries develop alternative Social Media Platforms to have healthy competition and reduce the absolute monopoly and hegemony of Twitter, Facebook etc…?

In India – we have the “Make in India” slogan.

Can’t India use the expertise of its huge pool of talented software professionals to create and develop alternative Social Media Platforms to compete with Twitter, Facebook etc - like China has done…?

Also – does India have a “Regulator” for Social Media (Twitter, Facebook etc) – a Regulator to whom citizens can raise their grievances against Social Media Platforms…?

When one talks of “regulation” – activists raise the bogey of “Freedom of Speech” and “Freedom of Expression”…?

But – what about cases like mine – where Twitter has throttled my Freedom of Expression by arbitrarily suspending my Twitter Account…?

In a democracy – will a citizen’s Freedom of Expression remain at the mercy of the Social Media…?

Dear Reader – as I told you – my Twitter Account @vikramwkarve has been suddenly suspended by Twitter 3 days ago without giving me any reason.

I feel that this has been wrongly done since I have not violated any Twitter Rules – which I have clearly explained in Part 1 of this article.

In my opinion – Twitter has made a mistake by suspending my Twitter Account @vikramwkarve.

Maybe – this mistake has been done by an automated “bot”.

I have appealed to Twitter to correct their mistake and restore my account.

Twitter has acknowledged receipt of my appeal – but nothing has happened so far – though 3 days have elapsed.

They say that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”.

Just to test whether the government has any power over Twitter – I have raised a grievance to the Ministry of Information Technology (IT) and Information & Broadcasting (I&B) regarding the arbitrary and erroneous suspension of my Twitter Handle @vikramwkarve – which was gone without even intimating me the reason for suspension – which is against the principles of natural justice – especially since I have not violated any Twitter rules.

Let’s see what happens.

If nothing happens – will it indicate that the government has no control on Twitter and the Social Media…?

At the macro-level – has Twitter become a hegemony which no one can control...?

In view of its worldwide reach and unbridled power – which has given Twitter tremendous dominance – has Twitter become a most influential tool for Information Warfare – especially Psychological Operations (PSYOP) for Perception Management...?

(To be continued in Part 3 – Social Media – The Most Powerful Information Warfare Tool…) 

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1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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This Blog Post is Part 2 of my series of articles on Twittersphere - continued from Part 1 - my blog post Twitter Can “Kill” You posted in my blog at url:

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