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'Toolkit' case: Congress writes to Twitter, seeks ‘manipulated media’ tag for tweets by Union Ministers

The ‘Toolkit’ case refers to allegation by the BJP leaders accusing the Congress of creating a 'toolkit' that seeks to tarnish the image of the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 25, 2021 / 02:32 PM IST
Randeep Surjewala, member of Indian National Congress

Randeep Surjewala, member of Indian National Congress

The Congress party on May 25 wrote to microblogging site Twitter seeking ‘manipulative' media tag for tweets by at least 11 Union ministers allegedly intended to “spread lies and malicious propaganda throughout the territory of India” with regard to the ‘Toolkit’ case.

The ministers whose tweets have been flagged in the letter include Piyush Gopal, Smriti Zubin Irani, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prahlad Joshi, Dharmendra Pradhan, Ramesh Pokhriyal, Giriraj Singh, Harsh Vardhan, Thawarchand Gehlot, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Read | Centre asks Twitter to drop 'manipulated media' tag for 'Congress toolkit' tweets: Reports

“ order to bring to your notice, the role played by various Union Ministers in the Modi government to propagate the above-mentioned forged documents (toolkit) through their official Twitter handles, I had addressed an e-mail dated 25.05.2021 to Twitter, Inc. In furtherance of the same, vide your reply dated 25.05.2021, you had asked to provide URLs etc. of the said Tweets of the Union Ministers,” the letter by Randeep Singh Surjewala, National General Secretary and Chairman of the Communication Department, Congress said.

Twitter’s ‘synthetic and manipulated media’ policy involves labelling tweets and warning users of manipulated, deceptively altered or fabricated content.


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Also read: Explained: Why was BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya’s tweet labelled and what is Twitter's ‘manipulated’ media policy

The letter is addressed to Vijaya Gadde, Lead for Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety at Twitter and Jim Baker, Deputy General Counsel and Vice President, Legal, Twitter.

“In view of the above, it is reasonable to expect that the aforementioned individuals will be dealt with the same yardstick as applied in other cases where the Twitter platform is misused to broadcast forged and fabricated material and all the aforesaid Tweets ‘Manipulative Media’ by the Twitter, Inc.,” the letter said.

The ‘Toolkit’ case refers to allegation by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders accusing the Congress of creating a 'toolkit' that seeks to tarnish the image of the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 24, Delhi Police's Special Cell sent a notice to Twitter India in connection with the probe into a complaint about the alleged 'COVID toolkit', asking it to share information based on which it had classified a related tweet by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra as "manipulated media", officials said. Last week, Twitter labelled as "manipulated media" a tweet by Patra on the alleged 'toolkit'.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on May 25 said "truth remains unafraid," after the Delhi Police sent a notice to Twitter India.
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