The uproar started following a campaign by journalist and activist Dilip Mandal calling Twitter discriminatory. Mandal started a campaign with the hashtag verifySCSTOBCminority and sought to get 500 accounts of users of marginalised communities verified.
Tribal socio political activist Hansraj Meena claimed on Wednesday of a caste and discrimination bias by Twitter for not verifying his account despite having more than 26,000 followers. Meena’s tweet also led to allegations flying thick and fast against Twitter with users claiming the company was discriminating against the marginalised.
In a response to ET’s queries, a Twitter spokesperson said its public verification process was currently closed and that it verifies people who are active in the public conversation on Twitter on a ‘case to case basis’ and that it has a ‘dedicated global process’ for managing selected verifications.
“As we have publicly stated on a number of occasions, our public verification process is currently closed. On a case-by-case basis we do verify people who are active in the public conversation on Twitter,” the spokesperson said.
“For example, we work with political parties to verify candidates, elected officials, and relevant party officials around the time of elections whose accounts will be active in the public conversation. We have a dedicated global process for managing these selected verifications,” the spokesperson added.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Meena said he also has an account on Facebook, which has twice the number of followers than Twitter but that he will not leave Twitter till he can get atleast 500 accounts of users of backward communities verified.
Political analyst Gaurav Pandhi said Twitter verification is not dependent on the number of followers and that many dalit activists had verified accounts on the platform. “If you have a public profile and there’s a chance that people can defame or impersonate you then you can get a verified tick and you need to apply for it. When you apply for it, they ask you to establish that you have a public profile. When Mayawati created an account on Twitter, she had a verified profile. She didn’t have to gain followers for it.”
But all through Wednesday, Twitter was abuzz with users tweeting with the hashtag.
“Blue check marks on Twitter are a matter of caste divide, assertion and privilege. If you are other than SC, ST, OBC you would easily get it but if you are SC, ST, OBC you won’t get it due to Manusmriti Twitter rules,” tweeted a user while another user referring to Hansraj Meena tweeted: “@ihansraj is a voice to the downtrodden and marginalised people who were unheard of before deserves a blue tick more than anyone here. RT if you agree.”
Akshay Popawala, co founder of Mumbai based digital agency Togglehead said verification is a big plus for users on the platform as there is a lot of misinformation and fake accounts floating around.
“There are multiple fake accounts of famous personalities at times which give out information which could be wrong and negative. Verification allows users of social media to differentiate between fake and real news and information. From a marketing standpoint, it does add a lot of authenticity to messaging. There is a perception that on Twitter verified users are famous, or brands that are verified are big. Ultimately, it is the platform’s decision to give you the status. They really do not reveal too much information publically on the evaluation process,” he said.