In a first, Twitter has flagged a social media post of BJP’s IT head as ‘manipulated media,’ reported Indian media on Wednesday.
Indian media claims that Twitter flagging the tweet of Amit Malviya on the ongoing farmer’s protest in New Delhi is the first instance of its action against fake news on the platform in India.
Manipulated Media: Twitter takes rare action against BJP
Malviya’s post came in response to the tweet of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Gandhi had posted an image on social media concerning police violence on the farmers protesting against the sitting government. The image showed Police baton-charging an elderly farmer. Gandhi said: “It is an unfortunate photo. Our slogan was ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan,’ but today, PM Modi’s arrogance made the jawan stand against the farmer. This is very dangerous.”
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 28, 2020
Twitter India is finally exposing the fake news and lies spread by BJP IT Cell. They are marking tweets as manipulated media, just like they did with Donald Trump
Amazing job Twitter, thank you! 👏 pic.twitter.com/uksBO9F7gW
— Dhruv Rathee (@dhruv_rathee) December 2, 2020
In response to his tweet, Malviya posted a video with the title, ‘Propaganda v/s Reality’ on his Twitter account on November 28th. The BJP member asserted that Gandhi’s image is fake and misleading, while the video shows the farmers were baton-charged by police.
He further added that “Rahul Gandhi must be the most discredited opposition leader India has seen in a long, long time.”
— NDTV (@ndtv) December 2, 2020
However, a score of media outlets undertook a fact-check of the BJP member’s video, and it turned out to be a cropped video. The Alt News shared a longer version of the video, which showed two policemen swinging a baton at the farmers. However, Malviya’s version of the video only showed the cropped part where the second police officer baton missed the elderly farmer.
“Amit Malviya shared a few seconds of a clipped video to suggest that the elderly farmer wasn’t hit. This was an attempt to water down the force used by police against the protesters. It must be pointed out that whether the baton touched the farmer or not is irrelevant. The video was shot at a time when large numbers of protesters had broken police barricades, and the cops were retaliating with lathi-charge and tear gas,” the Alt News said in a report.
The photographer, Ravi Choudhry, of the original image, put some more photos in his Instagram account to debunk a BJP member’s claims.
Will Twitter finally target fake news in India?
The action against the fake tweet of BJP members came under Twitter’s policy to take strict action against the fake and manipulated content, initiated from March 5.
This is also a sharp turn from their alleged inaction and complacency towards the fake news spread by BJP politicians and government officials.
Back in August, the global social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, had been criticized for surrendering to India.
In August this year, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), a top US business publication based in New York, reported in a story titled “Facebook’s Hate-Speech Rules Collide With Indian Politics” that driven by business interests, Facebook failed to comply with its own hate-speech rules and regulations while dealing with BJP leader T. Raja Singh and other ultra-right wingers affiliated with Narendra Modi’s Hindu extremist party, BJP.
The Indian politician T. Raja Singh had publicly incited violence against Muslims, particularly Rohingyas – but also other Indian Muslims participating in the Anti-CAA protests – saying that they should be shot for being traitors.
The article stated certain sections within Facebook argued that taking action against ultra-right wingers will offend Indian PM Narendra Modi and affect Facebook’s business in India.
Similar criticism has been leveled against Twitter as well time and time again.
GVS News Desk