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SOURCE: THE PRINT

The Twitter account of the Indian Army’s crucial Chinar Corps, which takes care of operations in Kashmir and at the Line of Control (LoC), is facing ‘visibility issues’ with its account on the social media platform. The force has raised the issue with Twitter, ThePrint has learnt.

Defence sources said the issue with regard to visibility of their tweets was first taken up with Twitter several days ago.

The issue caught the public eye this week after several users tweeted that the verified Chinar Corps account was a target of a “shadow ban” since the posts were not visible and the account was not appearing as a search hit on Twitter.

A shadow ban, according to Twitter, is when content is deliberately made undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it, without intimating the original poster.

Sources said Twitter responded to the Army saying they don’t carry out shadow bans.

A query sent by ThePrint to Twitter also elicited the same response. The micro-blogging site gave references to a 2018 Twitter update which said they did not indulge in shadow ban of accounts.

However, the Twitter blog had said, “We do rank tweets and search results. We do this because Twitter is most useful when it’s immediately relevant. These ranking models take many signals into consideration to best organize tweets for timely relevance. We must also address bad-faith actors who intend to manipulate or detract from healthy conversation.”

Govt concerned
Defence sources said the issue will be raised by the home ministry panel that is scheduled to meet with Twitter authorities soon.

Contrary to what Twitter has been claiming, they added, the social media giant has “indeed partially prevented Chinar Corps Twitter handle”.

The authorities concerned had carried out a test this week, screenshots of which show that some of the tweets were not visible to many users.

The sources said some of Twitter’s algorithms seem to be preventing a group of users (those who don’t regularly interact with the handle but follow it) from viewing the account in a first-level search. A first-level search is when a user searched with just a name but not the account handle. However, the handle is visible in case of a direct search, i.e., when one searches using the handle.

This is not the first time Twitter has come under the scanner in India. On Wednesday, the social media giant submitted a written apology to a parliamentary panel for showing Leh as part of China in its geo-location service.

In a strongly worded letter, the central government had last month warned Twitter that disrespect towards the country’s sovereignty and integrity was absolutely unacceptable.