The Twitter app is getting negative reviews on the Google Play Store, after a photo of CEO Jack Dorsey holding a poster with the words ‘Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy’ went viral on the platform, with some users saying his post was ‘anti-Hindu’ and ‘anti-Brahmin’.
Dorsey has been accused of “Hinduphobia” and “inciting violence and hate” for holding the poster.
The poster, which was originally designed by a US-based Dalit rights activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan, shows a Dalit woman holding up a placard that says “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy”. The poster was gifted to the Twitter CEO by Sanghapali Aruna of Project Mukti, who met him during his recent India visit.
Twitter has since issued an apology, and said the poster did not reflect the company’s views. The company’s head of legal and policy in India, Vijaya Gadde, tweeted: “I’m very sorry for this. It’s not reflective of our views. We took a private photo with a gift just given to us – we should have been more thoughtful. Twitter strives to be an impartial platform for all. We failed to do that here & we must do better to serve our customers in India.”
However, the app is now getting negative reviews on the Google Play Store, a pattern we’ve seen in the past when controversies raged on the platform.
Angry Indians giving apps negative reviews is nothing new. Snapchat and Indian e-commerce app Snapdeal have suffered it in the past. In Snapchat’s case, CEO Evan Spiegel was accused of referring to India as a poor country, and saying the app was not meant for the market. There was no proof that Spiegel actually said this, but it was enough for many outraged Indians to threaten to uninstall the app and leave negative reviews on the App Store and Google Play Store. Snapchat’s rankings had been hit during the incident.
In Twitter’s case, its apology hasn’t calmed things down so far. Feminists have pointed out that the term ‘Brahmanical patriarchy’ has nothing to do with being anti-Hindu or anti-Brahmin. They argue that it seeks to locate how patriarchy operates within the paradigm of caste in India, and that the two are inter-linked.
Some have also pointed out that the Twitter CEO is perhaps getting a first-hand taste of how women on the platform continue to face vitriolic attacks and abuse when they express their opinions.
Journalist Anna MM Vetticad tweeted that it was “sad to see a lack of awareness and concern about caste issues”, referring to Gadde’s tweet.
Vetticad added, “On a separate note, this was not a “private photo” – it was shot by a @TwitterIndia rep & mailed to us to share if we wish. You are throwing us under the bus to save your skin. Unbelievable! @jack.”
Sad to see a lack of awareness & concern about caste issues in your tweet, @vijaya. On a separate note, this was not a “private photo” – it was shot by a @TwitterIndia rep & mailed to us to share if we wish. You are throwing us under the bus to save your skin. Unbelievable! @jack https://t.co/zZ9StvsbLb
— Anna MM Vetticad (@annavetticad) November 20, 2018
Many on Twitter are still angry about the photo, and have claimed Dorsey is racist, and anti-Hindu. They have also called him anti-Brahmin. It remains to be seen if anyone actually plans to quit Twitter over the photo.