Facebook being manipulated by Modi and BJP to influence election outcome?

On April 1, Facebook announced that it had taken down 687 pages and accounts being allegedly run by the “Congress IT Cell”. Facebook said, “While the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found that it was connected to individuals associated with an INC IT cell.”

FB removes 687 pages, accounts linked to Congress IT Cell
Representational Image

Facebook added that the accounts were taken down for “violating Facebook’s policies on coordinated inauthentic behaviour or spam.” They also said, “We are taking down these pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they posted.” However, none of this offers any real explanation as to how they arrived at the conclusion that the pages were run by the Congress IT Cell.

Meanwhile, the Congress Party itself clarified that no official page run by the party or its verified volunteers had been taken down. This makes one wonder if this entire exercise of making such an announcement just weeks before the general elections is a means to influence the result of the polls and create confusion in the minds of people? Is Facebook in cahoots with the BJP and is the latest hit job on the Congress was a result of this unholy nexus?

Take for instance the fact that the announcement was made by Nathaniel Gleicher who is Facebook’s Global Head of Cybersecurity. Nathaniel Gleicher also happens to be associated with a neocon think-tank called “Center for Strategic and International Studies” (CSIS). His profile on CSIS may be viewed here. This think-tank CSIS has been alleged to be closely related to weapons lobbying and to propagate the interests of the US Military establishment.

CSIS has a Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy Studies that leads their work in India. According the CSIS website, “The Chair has been made possible by the generous support of the Wadhwani Foundation, which is founded and led by CSIS trustee and Symphony Technology Group CEO Romesh Wadhwani.” Entrepreneur and billionaire Romesh Wadhwani is the CEO of Symphony Technology Group.

Romesh Wadhwani appears to enjoy a close association with Narendra Modi. In February 2018, Wadhwani’s “Institute for Artificial Intelligence” was inaugurated by Modi personally. Modi even tweeted about it. In fact, at the 56th Convocation ceremony of IIT Bombay, where Wadhwani was conferred with a Doctor of Science honorary degree, Modi mentioned his contribution to “Nation Building”.
It makes one wonder if Modi and BJP are using their existing relationships with senior Facebook officials to influence the outcome of Indian elections. In the past there have been allegations that US-based “think-tanks” are used to influence elections and leadership changes in foreign countries. This link between Narendra Modi and the organization with which Facebook’s Cybersecurity Head is associated, appears to be the smoking gun which might reveal how these hit jobs are done.

Meanwhile, even as Facebook is allegedly being used to influence elections, there’s isn’t a whimper from the Election Commission so far. The EC must redeem itself by taking notice of these murky links and issue a show-cause notice to Facebook to explain how they deduced that the deleted pages were “linked to the INC IT cell”.



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