Barkha Dutt calls out Twitter for being 'enablers of sexual abuse and violence' after receiving several inappropriate messages

Senior journalist Barkha Dutt on Tuesday publicly shared her complaint to Twitter authorities which she filed in the aftermath of receiving violent threats and obscene messages over the microblogging site.

Barkha claimed that her phone number was leaked and thereafter circulated widely on the social media platform after which she received a barrage of inappropriate messages, the contents of some of which she shared on her Twitter account. Following this, Barkha says, she was "locked out" of Twitter until she took down many of those details. Reacting to this development, she wrote to those associated with Twitter India.

"I had close to 1,000 abusive messages and calls in a coordinated and violent mob attack. These included a message to shoot me, a nude photo, many sexually abusive messages," Barkha tweeted as she shared her mail to Twitter.

In her mail, Barkha mentions that despite several complaints about such messages and threats by her, Twitter never took any action and instead, over the years, has been used as a platform to "harass, abuse and smear women in India". In light of no action being taken on those complaints so far, Barkha alleged that "Twitter today chooses to stand with perpetrators of sexual abuse and violence." She has further called out out the social network for being "vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence" and challenged them with legal action. "Shame on you. And be rest assured I will contest this legally."

On Monday, Barkha had shared phone numbers and messages of multiple people who she said had been stalking, threatening and abusing her. She even tagged the Twitter handles of various state police in her tweets and had called Twitter "tone deaf on gender equality" for asking her to take down the numbers of the men who had sent her such messages.

On 17 February, Barkha had tweeted that she has enabled direct messaging to her over Twitter for any Kashmiri student who needs help in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack as there were reports of Kashmiri students being targeted in various parts of the country. She later said that was "closing her DMs" as they had been "hijacked by an abusive mob".

Twitter said it did not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons and it referred to its rules that users may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorisation and permission.

A spokeswoman for Twitter in an email to Reuters said, "If we identify a Tweet that violates the Twitter Rules, there are a range of enforcement options we may pursue. These include requiring a user to delete a Tweet, and/or being temporarily locked out of their account before they can Tweet again."

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Updated Date: Feb 19, 2019 13:47:52 IST

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