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HomePoliticsIndiaAAP, BJP, INC used fake FB profiles to influence Delhi polls: Whistleblower

AAP, BJP, INC used fake FB profiles to influence Delhi polls: Whistleblower

AAP supporters used fake profiles to masquerade as supporters of PM Modi who were switching to CM Kejriwal to fight corruption, Zhang said


Facebook whistleblower Sophie Zhang, a former data scientist with the social media company, has claimed that fake accounts were used during the 2020 Delhi Assembly by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Indian National Congress (INC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to influence the narrative.

“A BJP MP was involved. All of them (Facebook posts) were pulled down barring the one by the BJP MP. AAP supporters used fake accounts to portray themselves as supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who were switching to (Arvind) Kejriwal in order to fight corruption,” Sophie Zhang said.

Zhang said it was a way to deceive people to think that supporters of Prime Minister Modi were unhappy with him. Flagging the menace of misinformation, Sophie Zhang said the official goal of Facebook was to make money and not save democracy.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) secured a stupendous victory in the Delhi polls, winning 62 of 70 assembly seats. BJP won 8 seats in the election.

Earlier this week, Sophie Zhang appeared before a committee of lawmakers in the British parliament and testified that Facebook was allowing authoritarian governments to manipulate political discourse.

“Fake accounts are being used to influence narratives. Autocratic nations have been using it to promote their leaders,” she said.

Sophie Zhang worked as a Facebook data scientist for nearly three years before she was fired in 2020.

The Government of India had been considering adopting a whistleblower protection law for several years. In 2003, the Law Commission of India recommended the adoption of the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Informers) Act, 2002. In August 2010, the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010 was introduced into the Lok Sabha, lower house of the Parliament of India.

The Bill was approved by the cabinet in June 2011. The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010 was renamed as The Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill, 2011 by the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice. The Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill, 2011 was passed by the Lok Sabha on 28 December 2011. and by the Rajyasabha on 21 February 2014. The Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 has received the Presidential assent on 9 May 2014 and the same has been subsequently published in the official gazette of the Government of India on 9 May 2014 by the Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India.


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