Facebook faces challenge to curb BJP's fake news factory

Date Published: April 8, 2019 Last Updated: April 8, 2019

Facebook's ad transparency measures around the funding of political campaigns have faced a setback in curbing activities of the alleged "personal election unit" of Amit Shah called The Association Of Billion Minds (ABM). ABM has been the secretive organisation of the BJP which has reportedly been managing ad campaigns of the party on social media platforms. The ABM has spawned widespread on-the-ground and digital operations for the BJP. ABM has been managing eight popular Facebook pages which

  • Facebook's initiatives of transparency around the funding of political advertising have faced a setback with the alleged secretive organisation of BJP managing ad campaigns of the party over social media platforms without its name being mentioned into any of the Facebook pages it has been funding.
  • ABM manages eight popular Facebook pages which includes Bharath ke Mann ki Baat with 300,000 likes and Nation with Namo with 1.1 million likes.
  • ABM’s pages have also spread misinformation, such as doctored videos of opposition leaders that misrepresent what they say. A recent report from Huffpost said,“This cluster of Facebook pages act as BJP mouthpieces, but allow the party to formally distance itself from the false information propagated by these pages."

  • Facebook can decide to remove pages if it receives any evidence of their link to the ABM on the grounds of “coordinated inauthentic behaviour." Earlier, Facebook removed over 1,000 pages from India and Pakistan for engaging in such behaviour, including many political pages by the BJP and the opposition Indian National Congress.