Twitter Labels Sambit Patra’s ‘Toolkit’ Tweet as ‘Manipulated’
WebQoof had previously found that Sambit Patra’s tweet was edited and Congress didn’t make the purported ‘toolkit’.
The Quint DAILY
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Two days after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the Indian National Congress (INC) for making a ‘toolkit’ targeting the government over its COVID handling, Twitter on late Thursday, 20 May, tagged BJP National Spokesperson Sambit Patra’s tweet as “manipulated media”.
On Tuesday, Patra had shared screenshots of the alleged “toolkit”, claiming that the Congress had created the document to “corner” Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his handling of the pandemic.
The claim was widely shared on Twitter by various ministers, including Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Textile Minister Smriti Irani, party president JP Nadda, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Shobha Karandlaje, Rajyavardhan Rathore, among others.
It was also amplified by several social media users, mainstream media and right-wing websites OpIndia, Swarajya. Following this, #CongressToolkitExposed was trending on Twitter.
However, in an analysis, fact-checking organisation Alt News and The Quint’s WebQoof team had found errors and discrepancies in the alleged ‘toolkit’ which raised doubts on the authenticity of the document.
Speaking to The Quint, Chairman of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) research department and national spokesperson Rajeev Gowda said that someone has forged a fake document by editing the genuine Central Vista document, which was prepared by the party.
The Congress has also written a formal complaint to Twitter seeking suspension of Twitter accounts of BJP leaders who were “indulging in spreading forged documents attributing to Congress”.
NOT THE FIRST OFFENCE
However, this is not the first time that Patra’s tweet has been marked as “manipulated media” by the platform.
On 31 January 2021, Twitter tagged a video posted by Patra as “manipulated” media in which he falsely claimed that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had spoken in support of the three controversial farm laws against which the farmers have been protesting.
Earlier in December 2020, Twitter had added a “manipulated media” label to a tweet by BJP IT Cell Head Amit Malviya when he posted a clipped video related to the farmers' protest.
Twitter had previously added warning labels on tweets by US President Donald J Trump during the 2020 US elections.
HAS TWITTER TAGGED OTHERS WHO SHARED THIS DOCUMENT?
Tweets made by other Twitter handles, like Shefali Vaidya and TEAM BHARAT, were also marked manipulated. However, the tweets by many other BJP leaders and Twitter users were still up on the platform without any warning.
The tweet has been marked under the platform’s “Synthetic and manipulated media policy” which mentions, “we may label Tweets that include media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated. In addition, you may not share deceptively altered media on Twitter in ways that mislead or deceive people about the media’s authenticity where threats to physical safety or other serious harm may result.”
We have reached out Twitter for a comment on the action that it took and we are yet to receive a response.
Ian Plunkett, the global director for the company's public policy communications, said, “We can confirm this tweet has been labelled in line with our global synthetic and manipulated policy. We've nothing further to share,” quoted The Times of India.
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