Twitter on Saturday morning briefly removed the blue check mark from the personal handle of India’s Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, ANI reported. This blue tick, displayed on a user’s profile, is viewed as an indicator of verified accounts.

“The personal account of Venkaiah Naidu was inactive for six months and the blue badge has gone,” an official from the vice president’s office told the news agency. The last tweet from the account was posted on July 23, 2020.

Hours later, the blue tick was restored amid a raging controversy. “BanTwitterInIndia” and “blueTick” were among the top five trending topics on the platform on Saturday afternoon.

A Twitter spokesperson said that the action was taken as a result of inactivity on the account.

“The referenced account has been inactive since July 2020,” the spokesperson said, according to NDTV. “As explained in the Twitter verification policy, Twitter may remove the blue verified badge and verified status if the account becomes inactive or is incomplete. The verified badge of the Vice President’s account has now been restored.”

The verified tag remained on the official account of the vice president of India, @VPSecratariat.

RSS functionaries also lose blue tick

Earlier on Saturday, the blue tick mark was also removed for at least five senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh functionaries. The accounts included those of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and his colleagues Suresh Joshi, Suresh Soni, Arun Kumar and Krishna Gopal.

However, on Saturday evening, the verified tags were restored for Bhagwat, Gopal, Kumar and Suresh Joshi’s accounts. Suresh Soni’s account remained without the blue tick mark.

The development came at a time when tension has been brewing between Twitter and the Narendra Modi government due to an alleged Congress document or “tookit” and new information technology rules.

According to the social media giant, the blue check marks on Twitter signify that an account of public interest is authentic. To be verified, accounts must have been active in the last six months and fit one of several criteria: government, companies, brands and organisations, news outlets and journalists, entertainment, sports and gaming, activists, organisers and other influential individuals.

The company has said that verification can be removed at any time and without notice. “You may lose your badge if you change your account name (@handle), if your account becomes inactive or incomplete, or if you are no longer in the position you initially were verified for – such as an elected government official who leaves office – and you do not otherwise meet our criteria for verification,” the rules said.