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Barkha Dutt condemns Twitter for blocking account after online abuse

Dutt said some people had posted and circulated her phone number on Twitter, enabling the harassment, which she said included threats of rape and images of genitalia being sent to her phone

Reuters  |  New Delhi 

Barkha Dutt
Barkha Dutt | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

One of India's best-known women journalists, Barkha Dutt, launched a scathing attack on Inc on Tuesday for temporarily locking her account after she posted details of men who allegedly stalked and threatened her.

Dutt said some people had posted and circulated her phone number on Twitter, enabling the harassment, which she said included threats of rape and images of genitalia being sent to her phone.

Dutt tweeted some of the threats and images on Monday, and she included phone numbers and names of the men who allegedly threatened her, after which her account was suspended.

She posted her complaint against in a tweet on Tuesday, after her account was re-activated.

"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 of being "vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence".

Twitter said it did not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons and it referred to its rules that users may not publish or post other people's private information without their express authorisation 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 email.

The social media platform is already facing scrutiny in India.

Its 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 told Reuters on Tuesday the parliamentary panel had written an email to Dorsey, reiterating its demand that he appear at a Feb. 25 hearing.

Twitter declined to comment on whether Dorsey would attend.

First Published: Tue, February 19 2019. 13:54 IST
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