New Delhi : The Congress on Tuesday once again targeted the Modi government over the "unholy nexus" of the ruling BJP with social media giant Facebook and WhatsApp and accused it of being on a mission to subvert India's democracy after coming to power in 2014 as the opposition party demanded an immediate investigation.
The Congress in a statement said, "The BJP has been on a mission to subvert India's democracy and harmony from the time they came to power in 2014." It said that dismantling democratic institutions and undermining their authority is but second nature to the BJP.
The Congress said that using all means available to them, a recent investigative article by an international media reveals that the BJP has gone above and beyond to propagate their agenda. "The BJP is found to have availed the services of social media platforms to deceive the Indian public," the Congress alleged.
The party further said that as elucidated by international media houses, Facebook India and WhatsApp have been used to "fire up Narendra Modi and BJP's social media campaign", spread hate and disharmony within India and more.
It said that from Facebook India's Head of Public Policy Ankhi Das's collusion with the BJP even before the 2014 Lok Sabha election, to Facebook's inaction to pull down pages, posts that fuel communal hatred and fake news, the link between the two seems stronger than ever.
"Moreover, Facebook's global leadership has been aware of the biases and partisanship but remained willing participants, proving that the unholy nexus between BJP-FB has hit the nerve-centre of our nation's democratic functioning," it said.
The Congress also said that according to the latest information in the public domain, this nexus has deeper roots. "In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had flagged 44 rival pages to Facebook and as of August 31, 2019, 32 per cent of these pages, that is 14 out of the 44 have been pulled down by Facebook," it said.
The party further alleged that it has also come in public knowledge that not only has Facebook pulled down pages that opposed the ruling party but upon the request of BJP, 17 pages which post content in favour of the BJP government's agenda have been reinstated.
"Shockingly, these requests have been made through email exchanges between BJP leader Amit Malviya and Facebook India Public Policy executives, Das and Shivnath Thukral," it alleged. "This blatant shielding of BJP-leaning Facebook pages is nothing short of a deliberate attempt to manipulate the public opinion in India. Another major issue that has come forward is Facebook's propagation of ads which circumvent its political ad transparency requirements," the Congress said.
"The aim of the BJP is to divide and rule and social media giant Facebook is helping them achieve this," the Congress alleged, adding that casting aside democratic principles, BJP attempts to rule the nation by manipulating and coercing public opinion. "The blasphemous nexus between the BJP and Facebook is for all to witness and must be investigated without delay," the Congress added.