In a major embarrassment for BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, a tweet by him on the alleged toolkit prepared by the Congress to bring disrepute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic has been labelled as ‘manipulated media’ by Twitter on Thursday.
According to the social media giant’s user policies, it may label tweets that include media that have been deceptively altered or fabricated. While in most cases the action is restricted to labelling, the posts can be removed if they check all the boxes—found synthetic or manipulated, shared in a deceptive manner, and likely to cause harm.
Sambit Patra’s controversial tweet
The tweet was published by Patra on May 18 with the hashtag “#CongressToolkitExposed” and it was widely shared by several BJP leaders.
Sambit Patra in the tweet wrote, “Friends look at the #CongressToolKit in extending help to the needy during the Pandemic! More of a PR exercise with the help of “Friendly Journalists” & “Influencers” than a soulful endeavour. Read for yourselves the agenda of the Congress: #CongressToolKitExposed.” He also shared a screenshot claiming it was from the document.
Friends look at the #CongressToolKit in extending help to the needy during the Pandemic!
More of a PR exercise with the help of “Friendly Journalists” & “Influencers” than a soulful endeavour.
Read for yourselves the agenda of the Congress:#CongressToolKitExposed pic.twitter.com/3b7c2GN0re
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) May 18, 2021
The Congress party had on Thursday lodged a complaint with Twitter accusing the BJP of spreading forged documents over the toolkit issue. The Congress has demanded the suspension of Twitter accounts of BJP’s national president JP Nadda, party leaders Sambit Patra and BL Santosh and Union minister Smriti Irani.
Congress’ head of social media department Rohan Gupta in a tweet said, “We have formally written to @Twitter seeking suspension of Twitter accounts of BJP leaders who are indulging in spreading forged documents attributing to Congress. While an FIR has already been lodged, the independent fact-checkers too have blown the lid off BJP’s propaganda.”
Congress, in its letter to Twitter, said that 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.
What is toolkit controversy?
The BJP has accused the Congress of creating a toolkit with an aim to tarnish the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India by calling the new strain of COVID-19 as “Modi strain” or “India strain”. However, the Congress has refuted the allegation. It said that its research wing made a toolkit on the Central Vista Project in the national capital, which the saffron party is wrongly using for propaganda.
On Wednesday, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said that toolkit properties reveal that it was created by a person who works for Congress leader Rajeev Gowda, in charge of Congress party’s Research Wing. However, Gowda said that Patra was sharing metadata of a real toolkit and using it as evidence for a fake document.
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