Ulta Chor Kotwal Ko Daante: Why Congress’ Bluff On Social Media Behemoths Needs To Be Called Out
Top management of social media giants in India is comprised of people committed to the Congress-Left ideology.
That the Congress is alleging the exact opposite only shows that its ecosystem wants nothing less than complete and unquestioned control of social media in India.
“The cleverest trick used in propaganda against Germany during the war was to accuse Germany of what our enemies themselves were doing,” said Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda in chief of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany at a Nuremberg rally in 1934.
Over the years, what Goebbels was complaining about ironically got attributed to his own genius. “Accuse others of doing what you yourself are guilty of” became a Goebbelsian tactic.
But this is an old trick (in Hindi we call it ’ulta chor kotwal ko daante’) and has gained prominence in recent times in the age of diplomacy and political correctness where appearing holier-than-thou is the currency even if one is playing dirtier than his adversaries.
Though all parties and politicians can be held guilty of deploying this tactic, the Indian National Congress is master at this due to its long track record of being in power.
It has successfully used it against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in branding the latter communal while itself passing the most sectarian laws.
It accuses the BJP of fascism when the Congress is the only party that presided over Emergency, a period where gross violations of human rights happened.
It accuses the BJP of being casteist while playing the worst caste-based politics itself. And on and on it goes.
So, one wasn’t surprised when the same Congress party recently accused Facebook of favouring the BJP when it’s an open secret that all top social media platforms of importance such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc are populated by leftist woke crowd in the United States who are ideological travellers of the Congress party and have no love lost for the BJP.
Even most of the Indian officials appointed to top positions by these social media platforms have nothing but contempt for the ruling party.
No less than the Managing Director of Facebook India Ajit Mohan admitted to a Parliamentary Committee on Wednesday that he not only earlier worked as a consultant with the Kerala Congress but also worked for the UPA-2 government in the Planning Commission and Ministry of Urban Development.
In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Manish Khanduri, Facebook's then head of news partnerships for India, joined the Congress and was immediately rewarded with a ticket from a constituency in Uttarakhand. Despite suffering a huge electoral defeat, Khanduri was elevated as the coordinator of the party’s social media unit.
The International Fact Checking Network Committee head at Facebook, Kanchan Kaur, has been accused by the BJP of using “derogatory language” repeatedly against the BJP as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The same committee approved Alt-News, an Islamo-Leftist propaganda website caught spreading fake and selective information, as a credible member while rejecting Right-wing and centre-right organisations like OpIndia and FactHunt.
Professor Kaur appeared for a webcast discussion with Alt-News founder Pratik Sinha in May, whose hate for Modi needs no introduction. The webcast was officially supported by Google.
Not just that, in 2018, the Congress was outed as a client of Cambridge Analytica, the disreputed UK-based firm which misused data of millions of Facebook users for election purposes.
Between 2014 and 2018, Head of News, Politics and Government for Twitter India was Kashmiri journalist Raheel Khurshid who was often accused of bias against the pro-BJP accounts while freely handing out the coveted ‘blue tick’ to the Leftists. When he was appointed in 2014, many had pointed out to his old posts alleging his anti-Modi, anti-Hindu and pro-Kashmir separatists stances.
When some Twitter users started exposing the political leanings of Mahima Kaul, director of Policy at Twitter India, she deleted her old tweets praising Rahul Gandhi and Congress and showing hateful comments against Modi. “Bombs, quakes, deaths are all second to Narendra Modi’s ambitions. Fuck aam aadmi,” one of her deleted tweets read.
It goes without saying that no one lost their plum job at these social media giants for being pro-Congress and anti-Modi. But one instance of a Facebook employee, Aankhi Das' refusal to take down posts and profiles alleged to be problematic by the Congress-Left ecosystem was enough for the Congress top guns to turn apoplectic with rage.
From Congress trolls to Rahul Gandhi, all started accusing Facebook of politician interference in India and siding with the BJP. Talk about tolerance. It is perfectly fine as long as Congress and Left-leaning persons are at the helm of affairs in these social media but how dare a platform refuse to oblige Congress‘ order of taking down BJP-leaning posts.
But that’s the Congress’ tactic. While the BJP is teflon-coated and doesn’t react unless it is repeatedly shaken to the core, Congress goes all in at the slightest transgression against its interest. Even in the opposition, it shows the ruling mindset while the BJP despite being in power keeps displaying the opposition mentality.
But this time around, it seems even the thick-skinned BJP got irritated by Congress’ tactics of blaming others for doing what it is itself a master at.
Union Minister for IT Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote a scathing letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg alleging that in the run up to 2019 general elections “there was a concerted effort by Facebook India management to not just delete pages or substantially reduce their reach but also offer no recourse or right of appeal to affected people who are supportive of the right-of-centre ideology“.
”The above documented cases of bias and inaction are seemingly a direct outcome of the dominant political beliefs of individuals in your Facebook India team,” Prasad added.
The Minister further said that the Facebook India team “is dominated by people who belong to a particular political belief”, an ideology which has been comprehensively defeated at the ballot by the people of India. However, people of this disposition are trying to “discredit India's democratic process by dominating the decision-making apparatus of important social media platforms“, Prasad said.
He also drew attention of Zuckerberg towards the fact that Facebook employees have been found abusing the Prime Minister and senior Cabinet Ministers of India while working in Facebook India and managing important positions. Moreover, Prasad rightly raised the issue of Facebook outsourcing fact-checking to third party shady fact checkers with no credibility and who are regularly fact-checked by public on social media.
Prasad got to the root of the matter of why the Congress and Left were using ’ulta chor kotwal ko daante’ tactics. He said that the ‘entrenched vested interests aren't satisfied with the shrinking space for one side of the spectrum in India and want to throttle it completely. The spate of recent anonymous, source-based reports is nothing but an internal power struggle within your company for an ideological hegemony.” (emphasis ours).
The perception of pro-BJP bias in Facebook (despite the completely opposite reality) is being created so that the Left can stamp out any neutral or centre-right voices working for the platform.
Sadly, Prasad’s letter only stops at listing grievances with no threat to correct course and stop the bias altogether.
The Minister should’ve told Zuckerberg in no uncertain terms that the Indian government will not allow intervention of foreign platforms in its local politics because that would be “prejudicial to its sovereignty“, an excuse India has used to ban scores of Chines apps.
The message to Facebook should have been of non-alignment with any ideology, to stay neutral and to not allow any censorship except of posts which fail foul of Indian laws. Zuckerberg would’ve got the message as he read another government order banning 118 Chinese apps.
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