Congress denies claims of linked 687 accounts, page by Facebook

Congress denies claims of linked 687 accounts, page by Facebook
Highlights

It emerged that the Congress party allegedly used bots to booster Congress president Rahul Gandhi's presence on twitter.

New Delhi: Facebook Inc on Monday announced that it is removing 687 Pages and accounts linked to the Congress party for "coordinated inauthentic behaviour", barely two weeks before the polling begins for the Lok Sabha elections.

"We removed 687 Facebook Pages and accounts the majority of which had already been detected and suspended by our automated systems that engaged in coordinated inauthentic behaviour in India and were linked to individuals associated with an IT Cell of the Indian National Congress (INC)," Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook said in a statement.

Gleicher also stated that the social media giant has taken the step of removing the accounts on the basis of their behaviour and not their content.

The US-based social media platform added that its investigation found individuals using fake accounts to spread content, criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"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," the statement noted.

"We removed 15 Facebook Pages, Groups and accounts that engaged in coordinated inauthentic behaviour in India and were linked to individuals associated with an Indian IT firm, Silver Touch," the statement read further.

However, the Congress party denied the allegations.

"We don't react to the news reports which may just be coming in, whether there are any Facebook pages which are linked to us. We will have to check and get back to you. We will have to check the veracity of the report. I don't think any news organisation can claim that what they print is gospel, we have the right to check what has been published," the party spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters.

In recent times, Facebook took firm steps to regulate political advertisements in order to ensure that the platform is not used for spreading misinformation when the general elections in the world's largest democracy are around the corner.

In October 2017, it emerged that the Congress party allegedly used bots to booster Congress president Rahul Gandhi's presence on twitter.

A close analysis of some of his tweets showed that these alleged 'bots' with a Russian, Kazakh or Indonesian characteristic were routinely RT-ing Gandhi's tweets. Further scrutiny of these Twitter accounts showed that the follower list was usually under 10 users and retweets comprised of random topics from across the world and those of Rahul Gandhi. Moreover, the content of these Twitter timelines comprised merely of retweets and a lack of tweets which could be categorised as an original thought.

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