Khursheed’s appointment as Twitter India head triggers storm

SRINAGAR: The appointment of Kashmir born Raheel Khursheed as Twitter India’s head has triggered a storm of protest and animated debate across various social media platforms with right-wing bloggers demanding his removal on the premise that he was "anti-Modi" and pro-separatist.

In the petition – addressed to "CEO, Chairman, Member of the Board, Twitter Inc (NASDAQ: TWTR)", the petitioners belonging to right wing grops have sought the revocation of the decision to appoint Khursheed as Head -- News, Politics and Government, Twitter India.

Conceding that the petitioners have no business questioning Mr. Khursheed’s professional qualifications, the signatories – which at 7 p.m. on Thursday stood at 2,923 -- said "his political bias and statements in the past makes us believe that he will not be able to discharge his duties in an unbiased manner". Mr. Khursheed for the past many years has, through his tweets, displayed "sheer contempt and hate" for BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi -- "even calling him a mass murderer" -- the petition said.

Micro-blogging website Twitter appointed a 30-year-old Anantnag born online activist Raheel Khursheed to head its news, politics and government section in India. This post has been created in only a few emerging countries, Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday.

Khursheed has a postgraduate degree in mass communication from Pune. The former director of communications at change.org, a US-based online social pressure group, has five years of experience in online activism and heading awareness campaigns among netizens, the report said.

Khursheed, who assumed office on Monday, has spearheaded several campaigns, including the StopRape campaign, started after the Delhi rape case last year. He also led hundreds of petitions, raising issues of injustice.

"He will manage, track and expand Twitter's relationships with journalists, editors, government officials and politicians, and increase the active usage of the website significantly," says a statement issued from Singapore this week.

Khursheed, the first Indian to assume such a position, has also been assigned to "develop best practices and new story formats, and drive adoption by news, government, political users and share those with the global team".

Times quoting sources further said the move to expand in India was made necessary due to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in May.

Twitter has emerged as a major tool for political parties to reach out to their respective constituencies.

Most political parties, including the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Admi Party, have dedicated teams for the micro-blogging website.

Launched in 2006, Twitter's 140-word messaging and networking became a rage across the globe with 500 million registered users till 2012. It is touted to be one of the ten most-visited websites.

Twitter also offered an initial public offering (IPO) last year, and is tipped to have a market capitalisation of Rs. 2 lakh crore. KO Monitoring Desk

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