Facebook is helping BJP achieve ruling party’s aim ‘divide and rule’: Congress

Illustration by Mir Suhail

“The BJP has an unholy nexus with Facebook to subvert India’s democracy”, the Congress said on Tuesday.

Continuing its attack on the BJP, the Congress said that the aim of the ruling party BJP is ‘divide and rule’ and the social media giant Facebook is helping them achieve this.

Congress further said that casting aside democratic principles, BJP attempts to rule the Nation by manipulating and coercing public opinion.

Congress sought an investigation and said the blasphemous nexus between the BJP and Facebook is for all to witness and must be investigated without delay.

“As elucidated by Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine, Facebook India and WhatsApp have been used to “fire Mr. Modi and BJP’s social media campaign”, spread hate and disharmony within India and more. From Facebook India’s Head of Public Policy, Ms. Ankhi Das’s collusion with the BJP even before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, to Facebook’s inaction to pull down pages, posts that fuel communal hatred and fake news, the link between the two seems stronger than ever. Moreover, Facebook’s global leadership has been aware of the biases and partisanship but remained willing participants, proving that the unholy nexus between BJP-FB has hit the nerve-centre of our Nation’s democratic functioning,” reads a statement issued by Congress party.

Congress alleged that the BJP is found to have availed the services of social media platforms to deceive the Indian public.

“According to the latest information in the public domain, this nexus has deeper roots. In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had flagged 44 “rival” pages to Facebook and as of 31 August 2019, 32% of these pages, that is 14 out of the 44 have been pulled down by Facebook,” said Congress.

The pages flagged by BJP are the official account of the Bhim Army, satire site “We Hate BJP” and a page called “The Truth of Gujarat” sharing mostly Alt News fact checks.

It has also come in public knowledge that not only has Facebook pulled down pages that opposed the ruling-party but upon the request of BJP – 17 pages which post out content in favour of the BJP Govt’s agenda have been reinstated.

“Shockingly, these requests have been made through email exchanges between BJP leader Amit Malviya and Facebook India Public Policy executives, Ankhi Das and Shivnath Thukral,” Congress further said.

According to the main opposition, this blatant shielding of BJP-leaning Facebook pages is nothing short of a deliberate attempt to manipulate the public opinion in India.

“Another major issue that has come forward is Facebook’s propagation of ads which circumvent its political ad transparency requirements. These ads, as disclosed to Economic Times by multiple highly placed sources, concern an official affiliate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which ran about six to eight pages during the 2019 elections, while spending over Rs 4.9 crore amount till date. Some of these pages were spending on ads as recent as April 2020. Even though Facebook has now taken down these ads, its efforts to further the BJP agenda cannot be hidden from the public.” Congress alleged.