A day after the Congress party, which is in dock over the latest toolkit fiasco, wrote a letter to micro-blogging site Twitter asking it to permanently suspend the accounts of BJP leaders for allegedly “spreading misinformation”, the micro-blogging website seems to have followed the diktat as it flagged the ‘toolkit expose’ tweet of BJP leader Sambit Patra as ‘manipulated media’.
On Thursday, the Congress party had shot a letter to Twitter seeking permanent suspension of the accounts of BJP president JP Nadda, Union minister Smriti Irani, and BJP leaders Sambit Patra and BL Santosh for sharing the alleged “forged” document.
We’ve formally written to @Twitter seeking suspension of Twitter accounts of BJP leaders who are indulging in spreading forged documents attributing to Congress.— Rohan Gupta (@rohanrgupta) May 20, 2021
While an FIR has already been lodged, the independent fact-checkers too have blown the lid off BJP’s propaganda. pic.twitter.com/DeVUO585l3
In the letter to Twitter, the Congress had said senior functionaries of the BJP were “grossly misusing” Twitter and this has led to “large-scale dissemination of false information and has the potential to cause social unrest in the country”.
As expected, a day after the Congress party’s letter, Twitter has promptly marked Sambit Patra’s tweets exposing Congress’ links to the toolkit as ‘Manipulated Media’. In his tweets, Patra had accused the Congress party of carrying out PR exercise with the help of “Friendly Journalists” and “Influencers”.
In its policies section, Twitter said, “We may label Tweets that include media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated. In addition, you may not share deceptively altered media on Twitter in ways that mislead or deceive people about the media’s authenticity where threats to the physical safety or other serious harm may result.”
However, Twitter acting arbitrarily on the demands of Congress has not revealed on what basis it concluded that the ‘toolkit’ tweet of the BJP leader was manipulative. After flagging the tweet, Twitter has claimed that the tweets have violated its “Synthetic and manipulated media policy”.
On Tuesday, two documents were ‘leaked’ on social media which gave point to point notes on how to question and discredit the Modi government on a few key points. The documents were allegedly created by the AICC research development. While Congress had refuted one of the documents as fake, there were some uncanny similarities between the instructions in the toolkit and how the narrative especially around the pandemic was built.
The instructions issued in the Congress toolkit are all-encompassing and extensive to launch a formidable media and social media attack against the Modi government when they are engrossed in defeating the raging pandemic. From maligning the Kumbh Mela as a ‘super spreader’ event to unwarranted attacks against PM Modi for the Central Vista project to collaborating with ‘friendly’ journalists and international media to defame the Modi government, the toolkit had detailed instructions to the Congress leaders and supporters to milk the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and mount an anti-Modi propaganda blitz.
The toolkit expose had created a storm across the country, fuelling massive anger against the Congress party. Several people accused the grand old party of indulging in such cheap politics, especially during a national crisis, to further their political agenda against the Modi government. As accusations against the Congress party grew louder, the party entailed the services of the propaganda website Alt News to give a clean chit for themselves.
However, in a hurry to give clean chit to the Congress party, Alt News not only did a very poor job with its ‘fact-check’, but also ended up exposing the links of the Congress party to the toolkit document.