Senior BJP leader and Union minister for electronics and information technology and communications, Ravi Shankar Prasad, on Sunday launched a counter attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for alleging that the BJP and RSS spread fake news and hatred using social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp to influence the electorate.
Prasad said that Gandhi’s party had no locus standi to question the BJP given previous allegations of Congress having used online platforms to influence elections in India.
“Losers who cannot influence people even in their own party keep cribbing that the entire world is controlled by BJP and RSS. You were caught red-handed in alliance with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook to weaponise data before the elections and now have the gall to question us?,” Prasad tweeted in response to Gandhi.
In 2018, UK based Cambridge Analytica was at the centre of a controversy linked to Facebook data breach of around 50 million users in the US to benefit Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower had told British lawmakers that he “believed” the Congress party in India was a client of the company at the regional level.
Earlier, Rahul Gandhi had referred to a WSJ report quoting unnamed sources to claim that the social media giant had been lenient on alleged hate speeches by BJP leaders in order to protect their business prospects in India.
“BJP and RSS control Facebook & Whatsapp in India. They spread fake news and hatred through it and use it to influence the electorate. Finally, the American media has come out with the truth about Facebook,” Rahul’s tweet had said.
The WSJ cited interviews with unnamed Facebook insiders to suggest that the company’s senior official and India policy executive Ankhi Das had intervened in internal content review processes to stop a ban on BJP’s Telangana MLA T Raja Singh, who made communally charged posts targeting the Muslim community.
The report claimed that Das, “told staff members that punishing violations by politicians from Mr. Modi’s party would damage the