BJP IT cell’s head Amit Malviya made a controversial tweet on the 28th of November, which has been tagged as “manipulated media” by social media platform Twitter. The tweet was related to the ongoing farmer protests in NCR. Malviya made the tweet countering another tweet made by Rahul Gandhi about police brutality against farmers. In the tweet, Malviya posted a video and claimed that farmers were not “beaten up” by the police but only threatened.
This is the first time in India that any tweet has been tagged as “manipulated media” by the platform. Twitter came up with the policy in February 2020 and used it in the US presidential elections quite profusely. The company applies this label for the cases that “result in confusion or misunderstanding or suggests a deliberate intent to deceive people about the nature or origin of the content, for example by falsely claiming that it depicts reality”. According to the social media giant, it uses its own AI or receives reports through partnerships with third parties to tag “manipulated media”.
Rahul Gandhi, in his tweet, had posted a picture of a farmer getting beaten up by police and written, “This is an extremely unfortunate photo. Our slogan used to be ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’. But today, the Prime Minister’s arrogance has made jawans stand against farmers.”
बड़ी ही दुखद फ़ोटो है। हमारा नारा तो ‘जय जवान जय किसान’ का था लेकिन आज PM मोदी के अहंकार ने जवान को किसान के ख़िलाफ़ खड़ा कर दिया।
यह बहुत ख़तरनाक है। pic.twitter.com/1pArTEECsU
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) November 28, 2020
To reply to this, the BJP IT cell head had posted two parallel “propaganda vs reality” videos by which he claimed that the security personnel did not hit the farmer. In his post that got 7000 retweets he wrote, “Rahul Gandhi must be the most discredited opposition leader India has seen in a long long time.”
The post was in fact checked by AltNews as well as BoomLive. According to AltNews, the video that Malviya shared was made by a Twitter user by the name of “Political Kida”. The video shared by that handle was also marked as “manipulated media”. On the other hand, BoomLive contacted the farmer in the video named Sukhdev Singh from Sangojla in Kapurthala district of Punjab. He said that he suffered injuries to his forearm, back, and calf muscle.
The tweet has since been deleted, but Amit Malviya has made another post, taking a jab at Twitter’s fact checking policies.
The marketplace of ideas is a better engine for sorting truth from falsehood than self-declared gatekeepers who have earned no social authority. Big Tech companies would serve themselves better by not wading deeper into this political thicket. https://t.co/KosIDuacJu
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) December 2, 2020