A couple of days ago a video emerged online where Divya Spandana, the Congress party’s social media head, as alleged by the BJP, is seen encouraging her party workers to create fake accounts on social media platforms. This created quite a flutter, with many accusing the Congress social media cell of using unethical means to increase its social footprint. The video is allegedly from a workshop organised for Congress workers in Bangalore.
Now the BJP has decided to get heavily involved in the matter, with its party leaders from Mandya, Karnataka filing a complaint in this regard with the cyber crime police, Bangalore. In the complaint filed on Wednesday, the BJP leaders alleged that a video has emerged where the AICC’s social media and communications head reiterating while answering a query that it’s not wrong to create fake accounts. The complaint has been filed by leaders named C T Manjunath, Hosahalli Shivu and Madaraja Urs.
The leaders claim that Spandana a former MP should not have given such irresponsible directions to her party workers. They also pointed out the incident about bots allegedly retweeting Rahul Gandhi’s tweets and that Spandana had issued directives to create fake accounts which they claim is unethical.
The further alleged that Spandana herself has over 50 Facebook accounts and urged the cyber police to verify her accounts and take action under the Information Technology Act. They also demanded that in the future, all Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google Plus accounts should be linked to Aadhaar for eliminating fake accounts.
Even though a complaint has been filed in this regard, it raises the question whether an act of creating fake or multiple accounts are indeed considered criminal under the Indian law. As per a 2014 report, it is indeed criminal when one misuses social media accounts to harass or stalk other people online. So are fake accounts themselves enough to warrant action or whether their online behaviour is what would draw scrutiny.
A few months ago we had reported that fake profiles of girls were being used to prop up Rahul Gandhi on social media. In that case, it was observed that pics of girls already present online were being misused to create these accounts. So this also raises the question whether a suo moto action could have been taken in this regard for a possible identity theft.
Also even though the BJP and the Indian Express, Deccan Herald reports allege that Spandana had encouraged her party workers to create “Fake Accounts”, other reports claim that what she had asked was create “Multiple accounts”. Multiple accounts might mean one creating similar accounts in their own name, which is milder as compared to “Fake accounts”, and some might claim, not overtly unethical.