Last few days have become a high voltage drama because of an article published by the Wall Street Journal on 14th August. In the report, WSJ alleged that social media giant Facebook had turned a blind eye towards hate speeches posted by accounts linked to BJP. In the article, they blamed Facebook executive Ankhi Das for being biased and allowing hate-filled content by BJP affiliated accounts. Ankhi Das is the Public Policy Director, Facebook for India, and South & Central Asia.
Politicians and supporters of opposition parties picked the article as a golden chance to attack the central government led by BJP. The attacks were not only targeted towards BJP but also towards Ankhi Das. So much so, Congress affiliates published personal information and photographs of Ankhi Das, giving their followers a clear path to abuse her on social media platforms. Das had to file a complaint with Delhi Police Cyber Cell against several social media users including Saket Gokhle and Arshad Khan from Congress.
WSJ promoting the controversial article
Days after WSJ published the article, it seems like the media house does not want the article go under the rag with new content and news coming out. The netizens noticed on 17th August that the media house is explicitly promoting the article using Twitter Promotions. Several Twitter users raised eyebrows seeing the article being promoted by WSJ.
@ruchhan posted a screenshot of the ad and asked if WSJ paying for the promotion or Congress.
Yeh paisa WSJ de raha hai ya Congress? pic.twitter.com/vrIrKWydos— वोक श्री सनीचर (चायिना एक्स्पर्ट। 中国母亲的博萨达) 🌈 (@Ruchhan) August 18, 2020
@sanket wrote that he couldn’t help but notice the “promoted” mark under the article by WSJ.
Couldn’t help but notice the little footnote on the tweet. pic.twitter.com/5PlMLis8ZP— Sanket Upadhyay संकेत उपाध्याय (@sanket) August 17, 2020
@shunv asked WSJ if they are promoting the article or someone else.
@vikashroy quoted Rahul Gandhi’s post where he alleged ties between FB and BJP using WSJ’s article and wrote, “Gandhi first pushed WSJ article via his tweet and now WSJ is promoting his article. How many of you think that WSJ wrote this paid article? I salute Donald Trump calling this as fake news.”
Gandhi first pushed WSJ article via his tweet and now @WSJ is promoting his article . How many of you think that @WSJ wrote this paid article ? …. I salute Donald Trump calling this as fake news https://t.co/TtFiRdhVKJ pic.twitter.com/srLjaHCaFg— Vikash Kumar Roy (@vikashroy) August 17, 2020
@jigneshmawaalee asked why WSJ is promoting the article.
Rahul Gandhi has been hitting hard against BJP over the alleged connections between the party and Facebook. Some twitter users including Nidhi, ex-journalist NDTV, deleted their Facebook accounts. Shashi Tharoor said in a tweet that he would raise the concern in front of a parliamentary committee he is part of. Aam Aadmi Party’s Raghav Chaddha also said that the Delhi Government is planning to call Ankhi Das to find if Facebook had any role in Delhi Riots’ planning.