Twitter Let Dozens Of Tweets Doxing Indian Interfaith {Couples} Keep Up For Months

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For nearly two months, tweets were posted on Twitter by far-right Hindu nationalists in India who doxed dozen of young interfaith couples – usually Muslim men who marry Hindu women.

“This is going to be a long thread,” said one of the accounts involved in doxing, followed by 17 more tweets. Each tweet contained pictures of government documents, including names, ages, occupations, addresses and photos of Hindu-Muslim couples in India. “Check out these pictures,” said another tweet from the same account. “Who instigates these couples to meet? It can’t be that they just fall in love. “

On Monday, as outrage grew in India, Twitter finally removed some of the biggest topics despite people reporting them for weeks.

But more than half a dozen other tweets doxing interfaith couples remained after the initial shutdowns. One of them contained a tweet from a politician from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party who tweeted the address of an Indian actor who allegedly converted to Islam. Twitter removed these posts after BuzzFeed News asked about them.

None of the accounts whose Tweets were removed have been suspended.

A Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “Posting someone’s private information without their consent is a direct violation of Twitter rules and you may not specifically harass or encourage anyone else to do so.”

In India, one of Twitter’s fastest growing markets, the controversial special marriages law requires interfaith couples to announce their intention to marry with the government and wait 30 days for approval. During this time, the couple’s application for marriage will be publicly examined at the Registration Department. The law is currently under appeal in the Supreme Court of India. One petitioner calls it “unjust, illegal and unconstitutional”.

Despite the controversy, the state of Kerala went one step further last year: it uploaded all of the applications to its marriage registration website for anyone to download.

The move put hundreds of interfaith marriage proposals on social media. Hindu nationalists claimed the motions were evidence of “love jihad,” an unfounded far-right conspiracy theory that accuses Muslim men of marrying Hindu women to dissuade them from their beliefs and India, a Hindu majority country, is slowly turning into an Islamic one Nation transformed. These conspiracy theories have fueled the violence while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used Hindu nationalism to fuel his rise to power.

Although Facebook has been criticized in the past for hate speech related to “love jihad” flourishing on its platform, the company has eliminated these particular cases of doxing whenever they are reported, said two couples whose applications were posted on the platform were told BuzzFeed News. But the documents, full of personal and identifying information, floated freely on Twitter for months.

Some of these tweets had thousands of retweets and likes, tagging prominent members of the Indian right-wing, including Kapil Mishra, a BJP politician whose speech was uploaded to Facebook at a rally in February and believed to have sparked religious violence in which more than 50 people were involved people were killed in Delhi state – most of them Muslims.

“Hindu bloodlines are being exterminated. Mass talks in progress, ”read a tweet from July with almost 3,000 retweets.

“I will post everyone [application] I have ”, read another tweet with almost 500 retweets.

“A total of 72 couples. That is a [campaign] To wipe out Hindus ”, read another with the hashtag #Hindus_Under_Attack.

“We enforce our policies carefully and impartially for everyone,” said Twitter. “Our products and policies are never developed or implemented on the basis of political ideology. Most importantly, when people see something on Twitter that violates Twitter rules, the most important way to report it is to click the drop-down arrow at the top of the tweet and select Report Tweet. “

Do you have a tip on Twitter or another tech company? Email this reporter at pranav.dixit@buzzfeed.com or contact us here.

Critics both inside and outside of California-based tech companies claim the platforms did not address the global harm. A recently laid-off Facebook employee complained in an internal memo: “We are focusing on damage and priority regions such as the US and Western Europe.”

“Love Jihad is not a global campaign, but it is high time for these Western companies to understand the real implications of this outside of their regions,” Athira Sujatha Radhakrishnan, a Bangalore policy expert, told BuzzFeed News.

Last year, Radhakrishnan, who is Hindu, and her husband, who is Muslim, were doxed. Her interfaith marriage proposal was one of 150 proposals that Hindu nationalists downloaded from the Kerala government website. Her application was not posted on Twitter, but it still got through WhatsApp groups before reaching her mother through a neighbor, accompanied by the message “Stop Love Jihad”.

Radhakrishnan filed a police complaint and posted a Facebook post earlier this year tagging the minister responsible for registering marriages. In July, the ministry returned its decision to upload interfaith marriage proposals to its website.

Radhakrishnan said she plans to file her own petition with the Supreme Court later this week to focus on the privacy invasion law’s potential.

Despite the shutdowns, distrust of Twitter remains.

“If this happened in America, when interracial couples were doxed, there would be swift action, I am sure,” wrote a Twitter user on Tuesday. “But who cares about a bunch of Indians? It’s not that your dying is going to get the international press into it, I mean people die in droves here every day, Amirite? “

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