— Consider reading the article Facebook controversy refuses to die down as people dig up senior management’s connections with the Congress, TMC, and AAP on OpIndia website —
The story surrounding the Facebook controversy is getting murkier with every passing day. On Friday, BJP IT Cell head, Amit Malviya, shared a collage of tweets by one Vijaya Moorthy, reportedly a Facebook official, expressing his allegiance to the Congress party. The tweets were posted by Vijaya Moorthy during the period of 2013-2017.
Vijaya Moorthy is a BJP critic and Congress admirer, suggests tweets
Reiterating his Faith in the Congress, Vijay Moorthy had tweeted in December 2013, “To the Congress – arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached! You are a party of deep ideology and resilience. Bring it on!” In another tweet dated October 2013, he wrote, “Rally Nama for Today: Rahul in Delhi and Modi in Patna: Forecast – The former will speak about what he does, the latter will speak about the former.”
Moreover, Moorthy had also made veiled accusations against PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. In one such tweet, he wrote, “What happens when two fascists meet, someone asked me. I shrugged. Said its happening in India’s capital today.”
According to his Linkedin profile, Moorthy is the public policy manager of Facebook India since 2019. At this point, it is clear that while the public policy manager of Facebook is a critic of the BJP, he holds admiration for the Congress party. Although his account is no longer available on Twitter, yet tweets mentioning his username still exist on the microblogging platform.
While pointing this out, Amit Malviya tweeted, ” Meet Vijaya Moorthy. Supposedly, heads government outreach at Facebook. Worked with Rahul Gandhi’s team for nearly a decade (love for his former boss still going strong)…Talk about Congress-Facebook nexus? Well, it seems Congress is running Facebook!”
The ‘political allegiance’ of Ankhi Das with TMC and AAP
Ankhi Das is the Public Policy Director, Facebook for India, and South & Central Asia. While the left-liberal jamaat has accused her of being a ‘BJP agent’, her old Facebook posts tell a different story. In December 2013, Ankhi Das had expressed open admiration for Mamata Banerjee’s political campaign of ‘poribortan (transformation)’ and the ‘Aam Aadmi (common man)‘ gimmick of Arvind Kejriwal. A number of her pro-AAP posts were shared by popular twitter user Ankur Singh.
In a Facebook post slamming ‘cynics’, the Facebook employee posted, “Poriborton – Mamata Banerjee walked to Writers and Arvind Kejriwal takes the metro. we will now see many leaders trying to be aam admi. as they say in Bengali – matite hathte sikhbe – they will learn to walk on mother earth. Of course, cynics may dub it as high on symbolic value meaning nothing in real terms. But anything which puts people at the centre needs to be applauded. I certainly do.”
In March Prior to the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, she had organised a ‘Facebook Talkslive’ with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee at Kolkata Town Hall. The event was also graced by ‘journalist’ Madhu Trehan who runs the left-propaganda website, News Laundry.
When the Aam Aadmi Party had shared a ‘Jhaadu Dance’ video prior to the Lok Sabha elections, Ankhi Das had dubbed it as a ‘cool campaign’.
Moreover, writing an opinion piece in ‘Daily-O’ titled, “The battle for Delhi on Facebook”, she had praised the Facebook campaign of the Aam Aadmi Party. Ankhi wrote, “Much like they did in the December 2013 Delhi elections, the Aam Aadmi Party had a much stronger ground game. Its street power merged seamlessly with its campaign strategies on Facebook.” She had credited the AAP for posting more than 1,000 posts on their page.
Comparing it to the BJP’s 194 posts and Congress’ 123 posts, she said, “The Aam Aadmi Party used Facebook as a social listening tool and rapidly adjusted its campaign messages and outreach. The AAP campaign was like a new start-up causing creative disruption and creating more impact with limited resources.” While suggesting that the BJP took its voters for granted, she insuinated, “The AAP’s success shows that no party – no matter how popular – can take the electorate or a good online strategy for granted.”
Earlier, Congress affiliates had published personal information and photographs of Ankhi Das, giving their followers a clear path to abuse her on social media platforms. Das had to file a complaint with Delhi Police Cyber Cell against several social media users including Saket Gokhle and Arshad Khan from Congress.
The Wall Street Journal article
On 14th August, the Wall Street Journal had published an article alleging that social media giant Facebook had turned a blind eye towards hate speeches posted by accounts linked to BJP. In the article, they blamed Facebook executive Ankhi Das for being biased and allowing hate-filled content by BJP affiliated accounts.
Days after WSJ published the article, it seemed like the media house did not want the article go under the rag with new content and news coming out. The netizens noticed on 17th August that the media house was explicitly promoting the article using Twitter Promotions.