The Maharashtra Congress on Wednesday alleged that some fake Twitter accounts posted 25 tweets per minute using the same hashtags, all on the topic of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput with deliberate intent to slander the Maharashtra government.
A delegation of state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant along with party leaders Raju Waghmare, Ratnakar Singh, met Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh to submit evidence on the same and demanded setting up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the matter thoroughly.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party has unleashed a new wave of ‘social media terror’ by overnight launching thousands of Twitter and Facebook accounts through hired IT companies. This is a pre-planned conspiracy by BJP against democracy and must be exposed,” Sawant later said in a statement referring to Sushant Singh Rajput case.
He said that information collected from Twitter about this notorious social media campaign has been handed over to the Mumbai Police for further action.
“This includes the names of these hired (IT) companies, the fake and genuine accounts on social media and other details,” Sawant said.
He claimed that thousands of such fake accounts were opened overnight using false identities and providing bogus details of the alleged users as part of the intrigue to tarnish the state government’s image on social media.
“There is an unusual pattern noticed in this. Most of these Twitter handles seem to be tweeting at the rate of 25 per minute, on the same topic of Sushant, and all using common hashtags. No ordinary user of Facebook or Twitter can post or tweet 40,000 posts in just three months,” Sawant pointed out to the police chief.
Going by the history, the kind and number of tweets and retweets on the same issue (Sushant Singh Rajput), it is clearly a “deliberate and planned conspiracy” against the state government and the city police, he pointed out.
“It also appears that the sole purpose of the campaign was to paint a picture that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is allegedly trying to save his son and that is why the Mumbai Police was trying to suppress the (Sushant) case. Based on these fake tweets/posts, certain agenda-driven TV channels were seen spreading the propaganda,” Sawant said.
The Congress delegation’s visit came a day after Mumbai Police said that it has registered two specific cases on fake social media posts and were probing over 80,000 such fraudulent accounts that were used to viciously target and tarnish the state government and city police.
In this context, the delegation pointed out that the University of Michigan and US newspapers have exposed the issue of BJP’s alleged links with the big social media players.
Sawant said a similar modus operandi was used in the Delhi riots and the lynching of two sadhus and their driver in Palghar in April, and a similar strategy could be deployed in future to spread social unrest and destabilise non-BJP state governments.