Twitter to alert govt before suspending ‘official’ accounts

Two months after Pakistan specified about 200 accounts that were suspended by Twitter for posting content about Kashmir, the government has made headway in its negotiations on the matter with the micro-blogging website. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Two months after Pakistan specified about 200 accounts that were suspended by Twitter for posting content about Kashmir, the government has made headway in its negotiations on the matter with the micro-blogging website.

In August, several users complained that their accounts or tweets were suspended or withheld for posting about events in India-held Kashmir. The claim came from journalists, activists, government officials and fans of the military tweeting in support of Kashmir freedom. Simultaneously, #StopSuspendingPakistanis was trending on Twitter in Pakistan.

The government then specified about 200 accounts that were suspended, accusing the platform of aiding India’s quest to silence Kashmiris and their supporters. The list of accounts suspended, included Twitter handles run by some government officials.

In an Aug 19 letter written to Twitter vice president, Trust and Safety, Del Harvey, National IT Board chairman Shabahat Ali Shah said that users from Pakistan were shut down without warning or prior notice.

He requested them to bring any ‘belligerent content’ to the government’s notice before suspending the account it was posted from.

He also requested Twitter to verify government officials’ accounts. “At least government accounts should not be suspended without prior notice to the authorities. The government, too, will document content posted through official channels and review complaints lodged against them,” said Mr Shah.