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Twitter Tags More BJP Netas' Tweets As 'Manipulated Media'; Defies Centre's Warning

Overlooking the warning of the government of India, Twitter on Saturday extended its “manipulated media” label to the 'tookit' tweets of five more BJP leaders.


Overlooking the 'strong communication' of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Twitter on Saturday extended its “manipulated media” label to tweets by five other BJP members. This time, tweets posted by verified accounts of Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, BJP national social media in-charge Priti Gandhi, Andhra Pradesh co-in-charge Sunil Deodhar, BJP media panelist Charu Pragya, BJP Delhi general secretary Kuljeet Singh Chahal, are tagged as "manipulated media". The tweets were all in connection to the alleged Congress 'toolkit'. 

Twitter started this spree of tagging tweets as 'manipulated media' after Congress wrote to the micro-blogging website seeking permanent suspension of the handles of BJP leaders including party president JP Nadda, MP Smriti Irani, Sambit Patra, and others for allegedly creating unrest in the society by disseminating misinformation. Sambit Patra's tweet was the first to get the tag on Thursday, followed by the tweets of the five BJP leaders, which got the tag on Saturday. 

Government of India Objects to Twitter for Using “Manipulated Media"

On Friday,  the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued a strong communication to Twitter, in which it stated that a complaint has already been made by one of the concerned parties before a local law enforcement agency questioning the veracity of the toolkit and the same is under investigation. It said, "While the local law enforcement agency is undertaking the investigation to determine the veracity of the ‘tookit’, Twitter has unilaterally drawn a conclusion in this matter and arbitrarily tagged it as ‘Manipulated Media’," and went on to add "such tagging by Twitter appears prejudged, prejudiced and a deliberate attempt to colour the investigation by the local law enforcement agency."

"This action not only dilutes the credibility of Twitter as a neutral and unbiased platform facilitating the exchange of views by the users but also puts a question mark on the status of Twitter as an 'Intermediary', it concluded and went on to ask the social blogging site to remove the 'Manipulated Media' tags affixed prejudicially to certain tweets in recent days in the interests of fairness and equity.

After issuing 'strong communication', the government even planned to call the officials of the micro-blogging site to discuss the matter. The final decision regarding the same is yet to be taken. 

'Toolkit' controversy

Addressing a press briefing on Tuesday, Sambit Patra shared the contents of a purported toolkit and slammed Congress' attempts to spread misinformation in the country. He covered sections such as 'Politicising and Allowing Super Spreader Kumbh', 'Questions on PM CARES', 'Special treatment of Gujarat', 'Choosing vanity over people's lives', 'Amplify work of frontal Congress organizations' and 'Prime Minister Modi's image'. The document also urges volunteers to use phrases such as 'Modi strain', ‘Missing’ Amit Shah, ‘Quarantined’ Jaishankar, ‘Sidelined’ Rajnath Singh, ‘Insensitive’ Nirmala Sitharaman.

The Congress has alleged that BJP sought to divert the attention from the Centre's "mammoth failure" in providing relief to the people of India. Claiming that BJP forged the letterhead of the AICC Research Department and printed false content on the same, it demanded action against the BJP leaders under the relevant sections of the IPC and the IT Act. As per the Congress party's research department head, a document on the Central Vista project does exist but doesn't carry the same pointers as the one posted by Patra. The veracity of the remainder of the internal research document remains unknown.


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