UK's The Guardian: India's ruling party ordered online abuse of opponents

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UK's The Guardian: India's ruling party ordered online abuse of opponents

Post by Rashmun on Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:31 pm

Social media trolling against Indian public figures including journalists and actors has been directly co-ordinated from inside the country’s ruling party, a new book has claimed.

An Indian former troll has alleged the 2014 prime ministerial campaign of Narendra Modi used social media volunteers to push critical messages about public figures perceived to be opposed to the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP).

Whether intended by the BJP or not, the social media campaigns would often spill over into religious and sexual trolling of the target, especially if it was a woman, said Sadhavi Khosla, the 37-year-old former party volunteer.

The trolls’ “hit list” included political opponents, such as the Congress party vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, and screenshots provided by Khosla also show that the Bollywood star Aamir Khan, was among those singled out.

She says the social media unit responsible for directing her and hundreds of other volunteers continues to operate...

Khosla’s account is contained in a new book by the journalist Swati Chaturvedi, published in India on Tuesday, I Am a Troll, which investigates the ties between abusive social media accounts and the BJP.

Prominent Indian women, particularly journalists, have been raising concerns for more than three years about the scale and tone of the abuse they face online, with much of it anonymous, sexually charged and fiercely nationalist.

Khosla claims in the book that starting late in 2013, and for nearly two years after, she was one of hundreds of BJP supporters receiving direct instructions on messages to push online from senior members of the party’s social media unit.

She received the orders through WhatsApp but also met senior members of the digital unit, she claims.

A fervent Modi supporter at the time, Khosla said she enthusiastically participated, using her Twitter account to criticise Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia, both senior members of the Congress party, which has ruled India for much of the 70 years since independence.

But she claims she grew uncomfortable when ordered to tweet criticisms of prominent Indian journalists, such as Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt, which sometimes featured “slanderous claims”.

“It was a never-ending drip-feed of hate and bigotry against the minorities, the Gandhi family, journalists on the hit list, liberals, anyone perceived as anti-Modi,” she is quoted in the book as saying.


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The targets of the social media unit would end up being swarmed by critical messages that occasionally veered into criminal threats, Khosla said.

“I simply could not follow [the] directions anymore when I saw rape threats made against female journalists like Barkha Dutt,” she said.

“Every day some new person was a target and they would attack like a swarm of bees with vile sexual innuendoes, slander, rape and death threats … It made me feel suffocated as a woman.”

Khosla left the unit after she was asked to spread a petition calling for SnapDeal, a shopping website, to cut its ties with the Bollywood actor Aamir Khan.

Khan, a Muslim, had attracted the ire of Hindu nationalists in November 2015 after remarking on the “growing intolerance” he felt was taking root in India.

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SnapDeal released a statement at the time distancing itself from the actor’s comments and did not renew his contract in February this year. Another Khan endorsement contract, for the Incredible India! tourism campaign, was also allowed to lapse, though the government has denied this was linked to the actor’s remarks.

“I realised that my hero had become a ‘Muslim’,” Khosla said. “For me he had just been an Indian actor. I felt like my country was changing.”


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/27/india-bjp-party-ordering-online-abuse-opponents-actors-modi-claims-book

Rashmun

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Re: UK's The Guardian: India's ruling party ordered online abuse of opponents

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:42 am

Tell the Guardian, you have been posting online stuff for a long time on behalf of the non-BJP parties.

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Re: UK's The Guardian: India's ruling party ordered online abuse of opponents

Post by FluteHolder on Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:37 am

Seva Lamberdar wrote:Tell the Guardian, you have been posting online stuff for a long time on behalf of the non-BJP parties.

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