An Arab Spring activist has accused the Twitter micro-blogging site of suspending his account after administrators mistook him for the leader of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group. Also Read - Explained: Can Twitter get banned in India?Also Read - Twitter vs government: Twitter India loses legal protection for not complying with IT rules on time
Iyad El-Baghdadi, who has more than 70,000 Twitter followers and frequently mocks the IS, said his account was suspended for about half-an-hour after he was misidentified as IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Indonesian newspaper Republika and the New York Post, BBC reported on Friday. Also Read - Twitter friends/followers seeking your unwanted attention could be Unmentioned
“To confuse an Arab man for the IS leader because of his very Arabic common surname is overt racism, @twitter,” he wrote on his account. “My account gave you nearly 100 million twitter views this year, but you suspend me and keep the trolls running around, @twitter,” he wrote in another tweet.
El-Baghdadi said he received a message from Twitter saying he had “violated” its rules but did not specify the offence. The activist, who also researches radicalisation, said the company needed to be “more transparent” about why and how people are suspended.
“I don’t think a single Arab country exists that doesn’t have a family with the surname El-Baghdadi,” his another tweet read.
Arab Spring refers to the democratic uprisings that arose independently and spread across the Arab world in 2011. Meanwhile, Twitter has not commented on the issue yet. In a fresh bid to combat abusive behaviour, micro-blogging site Twitter is also revising its rules to tackle hateful conduct including spreading of terror messages online.
“We believe that protection from abuse and harassment is a vital part of empowering people to freely express themselves on Twitter,” Megan Cristina, director, trust and safety at Twitter, posted in a blog recently.
“The updated language emphasises that Twitter will not tolerate behavior intended to harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence another user’s voice. As always, we embrace and encourage diverse opinions and beliefs but we will continue to take action on accounts that cross the line into abuse,” she posted.
Over the past year, Twitter has taken several steps to fight abuse in order to protect freedom of expression.