Bharatiya Janata Party leaders expressed concern on Saturday over the permanent suspension of United States President Donald Trump's Twitter account by the social media giant, saying it sets a dangerous precedent and is a wake-up call for democracies about the threat from unregulated big tech companies.
Days after Trump's supporters stormed the US Capitol and caused the deaths of four civilians and a police officer, Twitter suspended his account permanently on its platform due to the "risk of further incitement of violence".
"If they can do this to the President of the US (POTUS), they can do this to anyone. Sooner India reviews intermediaries' regulations, better for our democracy," BJP's youth wing president Tejaswi Surya said in a tweet.
He said the suspension of Trump's account is a wake-up call for those who do not yet understand the threat to democracies from unregulated big tech companies.
Echoing similar sentiments, BJP's IT cell head Amit Malviya said "deplatforming Donald Trump, a sitting US president, sets a dangerous precedent. It has less to do with his views and more to do with intolerance for a differing point." He said those who claim to champion free speech are celebrating and dubbed big tech firms as "new oligarchs".
Pitching for regulating such firms, Surya said dissent is fundamental to democracy and the government welcomes it, but only constitutional authorities can decide on its reasonability. Lately, big tech companies have themselves assumed this role, he said, adding, "Time for us to regulate big tech companies."
Surya, who is also a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, said Facebook and Twitter serve as platforms for expression and they should not curtail people's will.
In a statement on Friday, Twitter said after a close review of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around those -- specifically how those are being received and interpreted on and off the social media platform -- the account has been permanently suspended due to the risk of further incitement of violence.
At the time of the permanent suspension, Trump had 88.7 million followers and followed 51 people.