BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra's tweet alleging a "Congress toolkit" to discredit the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Covid handling has been marked as "manipulated media" by Twitter. The Congress had urged Twitter to remove tweets by him and other BJP leaders, citing its police complaint calling the so-called "toolkit" a con job.
Sambit Patra had posted the tweet on May 18 with the hashtag #CongrssToolkitExposed. It was shared by several BJP leaders.
"Friends look at the #CongressToolKit in extending help to the needy during the Pandemic! More of a PR exercise with the help of "Friendly Journalists" & "Influencers" than a soulful endeavour. Read for yourselves the agenda of the Congress: #CongressToolKitExposed," he had written, sharing what he called were screenshots from the document.
Friends look at the #CongressToolKit in extending help to the needy during the Pandemic!— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) May 18, 2021
More of a PR exercise with the help of "Friendly Journalists" & "Influencers" than a soulful endeavour.
Read for yourselves the agenda of the Congress:#CongressToolKitExposedpic.twitter.com/3b7c2GN0re
Twitter's "synthetic and manipulated media policy" says: "You may not deceptively promote synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm. In addition, we may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand their authenticity and to provide additional context."
The microblogging site also says it "may label Tweets that include media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated". While in most cases action is restricted to labeling, the posts can be removed if they check all the boxes - found synthetic or manipulated, shared in a deceptive manner, and likely to cause harm.
The Congress had complained to Twitter that the screenshots shared by Mr Patra and other BJP leaders were fake and had demanded that their accounts be permanently suspended for "spreading misinformation and unrest in society".
The alleged "toolkit" shared by the BJP had instructions on "cornering Narendra Modi and BJP on Covid mismanagement".
According to screenshots amplified by BJP leaders, the document said: "Use the phrase 'Indian strain' whenever talking of the new mutant. Social media volunteers may call it 'Modi strain'."
The alleged toolkit also had other controversial tips for Congress workers such as using the term "super spreader Kumbh" and "not commenting on Eid gatherings".
Fact-checking website Alt News said the "AICC (All India Congress Committee) Research Department" letterhead on the documents was forged and raised questions on the content, saying the BJP had not shared the original documents.