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Tek Fog App not found on prominent App and APK stores: IT Minister Rajeev Chandrashekar clarifies in Parliament

The IT Minister said they tried to locate the app on major app stores and APK stores but could not find the app in any online stores.

The government on Friday informed the Parliament that it could not locate the ‘Tek Fog’ application on any of the prominent App and APK stores.

The clarification came weeks after reports published in the media alleged that BJP was using an app called Tek Fog to manipulate trends and automatically social media platforms to spew hate online. 

In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “The government has noted the news articles about the alleged app, namely ‘Tek Fog’, that has been used to manipulate the social media platforms”.

The IT Minister said they tried to locate the app on major app stores and APK stores but could not find the app in any online stores. The minister further said that the IT Ministry was unaware of any technical vulnerability that makes social media intermediaries susceptible to manipulation, as reported in the news articles.

“The government is committed to open, safe and trusted, and accountable internet for users,” he added.

Minister Rajeev Chandrashekar said that the government is aware of the risk and danger posed by the growing phenomenon of dissemination of wrong and hateful information through some social media platforms. The IT Ministry does not track and monitor apps or content appearing on social media platforms, the minister added.

The minister also informed that the Centre has taken several steps to address the challenges of user harm and hateful information available on social media intermediaries or platforms.

Tek Fog: The imaginary app with superpowers invented by the Wire to target BJP

The left-wing propaganda portal The Wire had published a report claiming that BJP was using an app to manipulate trends and automatically spew hate online. Relying on an August 2020 tweet and some imaginary ‘source’, The Wire claimed that the party was using one software named Tek Fog, led by BJP leader Devang Dave. Even though Dave completely denied the allegations in an email to Wire, they still published the story.

In the report, Wire claimed that the so-called Tek Fog app allowed BJP to ‘hijack’ the Twitter trends, allowed managing multiple WhatsApp accounts and direct online harassment of anti-BJP journalists. The report claims that the app can bypass all kinds of security features that major social media platforms have.

According to The Wire, Tek Fog has some kind of superpower, which has capabilities that even the NSA of the USA does not have. According to Wire, hacking top apps like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp etc., is a child’s play using the app, and all security features of those platforms vanish with this magical piece of software.

The portal based the story on a couple of tweets by one Aarthi Sharma, who in August 2020 had claimed on Twitter that she had been working in the IT cell since 2014 and was promised a govt job. After not getting the promised job, she had ‘revealed’ that she was asked to use the ‘secret app’ Tek Fog, which bypasses reCAPTCHA codes and is used to auto-upload text and hashtag trends.

Before publishing the story, the Wire had contacted Devang Dave for his comments, and he had completely denied the allegations. In a mail sent to the portal, he had said that BJP or BJYM never indulged in any such social media manipulation. Saying that the organisation does not need such apps to manipulate things, Dave had said that none in the organisation was even aware of any such app.

The Wire took a u-turn to claim that they could not access the Tek Fog app but was able to find some scripts which allowed them to connect to a secure server hosting the Tek Fog app. The source supposedly provided screenshots of the app to Wire to prove its existence. The report did not include any example of the script or the URL/IP addresses of the ‘secure server’ that hosted the app.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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