In Focus

‘Free and Fair’ Social Media Suspends Abhijeet’s Account, Forces Sonu To Quit

Manu Shrivastava / Mumbai

Sonu Nigam’s decision to quit Twitter is probably the only one in which a celebrity has parted ways with his fans in a display of support to another’s account being suspended by Twitter. The way he severed links with Twitter swiftly was a bold yet regrettable move for most of his fans who were left incensed. What he tried to highlight was the ineptness of social media platform in containing hatred and abuse and their lopsided policies that often cause more harm than good and often ignore the real perpetrators who spread hatred and vile.

Social media has never been in the news as much as in recent times. Indian singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya’s twitter account was suspended by Twitter on May 23rd 2017 for using ‘inappropriate’ and ‘insulting’ language. No one, however, scratched below the surface to see the real issue or to analyse the string of events that led to Abhijeet tweeting the way he did. If that was not enough, Twitterati was swift to declare him vicious and vile and the out-pour led to the suspension of the singer’s account. Twitter’s statement read, "We want people to feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs but we draw the line when it comes to behaviour that crosses the line into abuse, including behaviour designed to consciously harass, intimidate, or silence another person's voice."

Not one person from the ‘industry’ stood up for Abhijeet except singer Sonu Nigam, who, after a string of 24 tweets explaining his predicament and decision, quit Twitter to show support with Abhijeet and Paresh Rawal who have been criticised for sharing their ‘controversial’ views on social media. Apparently, Paresh Rawal maintained that he also had to delete a tweet to keep his account active. The notion that social media is ‘free’ and ‘fair’ sound much of a fable now and must be revisited.

India is, however, not the only country where social media has backfired on a celebrity and the best way out is to call it quits. The most famous incident being of Justin Bieber who deactivated his Instagram account in 2016 following hate messages, slander and a public-spat with his ex-girlfriend, only to come back again later.

The list of celebrities who have quit a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram doesn’t end. It includes Alec Baldwin, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, Adele, Emma Stone, Rihanna and more! While some have come back to where they left from, others have left the platform permanently. The reasons range from the most obvious and most logical to the most obscure and most ridiculous. A fight gone public, online bullying, hate messages, racial abuse, a break from social-media, etc.

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