After the Cambridge Analytica fiasco where it was alleged that user data of millions of Facebook users had been compromised and used for targeting political campaigning, in which the Congress party was also named, the social networking website has greatly increased its transparency protocol.
Now, when a Facebook page pays money to promote a post and run it as an advertisement to target its audience with their messaging, Facebook provides people with the option of viewing which ads are being run by the page to target which audience.
When one looks at any Facebook page and clicks on the “Info and ads” tab, all the paid promotions that are being run by the party’s page are displayed. For example, when we looked at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s official Facebook page, it displayed only one paid promotion which is being seeded by BJP.
The BJP is running a simple page promotion in India. We know it is being seeded in India because of the disclaimer displayed by Facebook that reads “You’re seeing ads that BJP is currently running in your location. They aren’t running ads in any other country”. Since we checked the page from India, the obvious conclusion is that BJP is running just the one promotion targeted at an audience within India.
However, when we checked the official Facebook page of the Congress party, we were in for a surprise.
When one checks the “Info and ads” tab of Congress’ Facebook page, one sees multiple promotions being run. Firstly, the page gives you an option to choose between India and Pakistan as the location the ads are being promoted in.
When one selects India, one sees 4 promotions being run. However, when one changes the option to ‘Pakistan’, one sees a single paid promotion being run with the targeted audience being Pakistan.
As evidenced, Rahul Gandhi led Indian National Congress seems to be running a paid promotion through Facebook, in Pakistan, of a post that urges people to “desh bachao, Modi hatao” (Remove Modi, save the Nation).
This was first brought to the fore by a YouTube channel that goes by the name “An Open Letter“.
This is not the first time that Congress has indulged in undermining Indian elected Prime Minister in Pakistan for its own petty political gains. Earlier, senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had also gone to Pakistan and asserted exactly the same thing that the Facebook ad now says. Aiyar had asserted in Pakistan that Pakistan should help Congress party dislodge PM Modi and install Congress back in the seat of power.
Congress rhetoric at home and Pakistan’s rhetoric at the UNGA also had eerie similarities and Pakistan trolls had tried to shield and promote Rahul Gandhi fervently on Twitter. One can also recall how Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu had gone to Pakistan for Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony and hugged the Pakistan army chief undermining the thousands of soldiers who are butchered by Pakistan. He had then asserted that he rather visit Pakistan than South India. In fact, global terrorist Hafiz Saeed had also endorsed Congress’ “vision” of Kashmir.
Update: Congress has now discontinued its paid promotion in Pakistan.