On the 5th of June, Twitter removed the blue tick, which indicates a verified account badge from the personal Twitter account of M. Venkaiah Naidu, the Vice President of India.
The removed blue tick was restored in a few hours after the outrage and objections by the Vice President’s Office and the Central Government.
When asked the reason behind this shocking act, Twitter cited their policies, criteria and inactivity of the account, due to which the verified badge was removed.
As per the criteria of the microblogging site Twitter:
The account must represent or be associated with a prominently recognized individual or brand.
Accounts that are verified include those of key government officials and offices, including heads of state, elected officials, appointed ministers, institutional entities, ambassadors, and official spokespeople.
To qualify for a verified badge, there must be a public reference to the account on an official government or party site or publication, or multiple references in news media.
According to the site’s terms, the blue tick or verified status may be removed any time, without notice.
The Twitter officials said, “You may lose your badge if you change your account name (@handle), if your account becomes inactive or incomplete, or if you are no longer in the position you initially were verified for – such as an elected government official who leaves office – and you do not otherwise meet our criteria for verification.”
The news of the removal of a blue tick/verified badge from Mr. Venkaiah Naidu’s Twitter handle became headlines. A source from the VPO, said, “The personal account of Venkaiah Naidu was inactive for six months and the blue badge has gone.”
Soon, the matter became an outrageous issue with criticism against Twitter. The Central Government claimed this to be an act of provocation and asked, if an inactive account is the reason, how Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley who passed away in 2019 still have verified accounts on Twitter. The Government of India also called it an outrageous act against the “Number 2” constitutional head of the country.
The Information Technology Minister of India said, “The Vice President is above politics. It is a constitutional post. Can Twitter do the same with American leaders in constitutional posts.”
The incident also added fuel to the ongoing tiff between the Central Government and Twitter over new Information Technology (IT) rules, implemented by the Central Government. Recently Twitter also made headlines for tagging tweets of many leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as manipulated media.
The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (IT) is expected to write to Twitter officials and seek an answer behind the act.
According to sources, the last tweet from the personal account of Mr. Venkaiah Naidu was posted on the 23rd of July 2020.