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WSJ runs paid promotion of article linking Facebook and BJP based on unknown sources: Here are the details

In the article, they blamed Facebook executive Ankhi Das for being biased and allowing hate-filled content by BJP affiliated accounts

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.

WSJ promotes article against BJP
WSJ promoted its article on Twitter in which they alleged connection between Facebook India and BJP (Image: screenshot of promoted article by Twitter user vikashroy)

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.

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@sanket wrote that he couldn’t help but notice the “promoted” mark under the article by WSJ.

@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.”

@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.

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