Twitter users worldwide were flummoxed with a curious problem on Tuesday as several accounts claimed that the number of retweets and likes on their tweets were fluctuating. This immediately sparked accusations that the social media platfoom was attempting to undermine the reach of users whose ideological leanings it considered unacceptable.
“It’s a planned conspiracy,” one right-wing supporter said in a message copied to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “Not done man.”
In one of the earliest complaints made about the problem, an Indian user noticed on Tuesday afternoon that the retweet count of his post had dropped from 934 to 26 within 14 minutes.
Then, the user noted that the tweet in which which he spoke of the problem faced a similar fate.
The social media company apologised and promised that the matter would be looked into.
In India, insinuations quickly gained wind that Twitter was attempting to “shadowban” users or control their reach. When a user of a social media platform is shadowbanned, the person is partially blocked without their knowledge.
These allegations came against the background of Twitter head Dorsey being summoned to appear before an Indian parliamentary committee on February 25 to explain perceived bias against right-wing views on the platform. Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma tried to connect the dots.
In midst of the confusion and anger against Twitter, there were also some other reactions to the bug.