The Jana Sena is hugely upset with mass suspension of close to 300 Twitter handles used by its volunteers by the social media platform on Tuesday. The handles received a communication from Twitter saying they had violated platform guidelines.
What the Pawan Kalyan-led political party is not able to understand is which part of their activity has been construed as spam or violative of Twitter guidelines. The social media team of the Jana Sena carried out two major campaigns in the last ten days. The first one was against uranium mining in the Nallamalla forests in Telangana. The second campaign slammed the YS Jaganmohan Reddy government for its performance in the first 100 days and trended #YSJaganFailedAsCM hashtag on Twitter.
Twitter guidelines frown upon any “coordinated activity that attempts to artificially influence conversations through the use of multiple accounts, fake accounts, automation and/or scripting, can attract a suspension”. In the case of the Nallamalla campaign, several Twitter handles nudged many neutral observers and civil society influencers to change their display picture to the #SavaNallamalla poster. It also got several celebrities to back their campaign and got a huge fillip when the Telangana government’s leadership said there will be no uranium mining. Did Twitter interpret it as a way to “artificially influence conversations”?
Jana Sena suspects that since it has taken on the Centre and the Andhra Pradesh government, it has borne the brunt by its social media outreach being clipped by Twitter.
Pawan Kalyan reacted to the suspension with a tweet saying : “I don’t understand the reason for suspending 400 twitter accounts of Janasena supporters. The reason behind the suspension of these accounts, just for standing by helpless people and their issues? And how do we understand this?”
Jana Sena was very active and vibrant on social media in the run-up to the elections in Andhra Pradesh and in their interviews its leaders said that was because the mainstream Telugu media, did not give them any space. But the visibility in the virtual space did not quite translate into electoral traction for its candidates. Only one of its candidates won the assembly election and Pawan Kalyan himself lost from both the constituencies he contested from.