Are Indian political parties involved in Facebook data scandal ?

Monday, March 26th, 2018, 07:12:35 PM IST

Social media giant, Facebook is currently in neck-deep problems. A few noted reports are claiming that Facebook has compromised users data, indirectly helping Donald Trump in the 2014 US elections.

Going into the story, the New York Times reported that London based firm, Cambridge Analytica(CA) used user data without consent. It is being said that a researcher who was linked with CA, created an application on Facebook. The administrator of the app had complete access to users data and even the data of people on his/her friends’ list.

The researcher then transferred the personal data of over 50 million people to Cambridge Analytica. The firm, which primarily serves political clients tracked the user data and designed political campaigns for Donald Trump. The interesting thing is that the user will have no idea that they are being tracked.

However, Facebook came to know about this issue in 2015 and seized the app. The reports claim that Facebook got assurance from the firm they had destroyed all the collected data. Interestingly, the damage has been done and further actions from the social media company had no real impact.

Ever since the news broke out, the market value of Facebook has been dipping at an alarming rate. Things were satisfactory once Zuckerberg made a public apology. Surprisingly, the company share value started dipping again, just hours after the CEO’s apology.

Facebook has a massive reach in India with over 250 million monthly active users. Facebook-owned platforms, Whatsapp and Instagram have a massive following in the country as well. Facebook may lose a lion share of its users it doesn’t take proper care of the privacy policy of its users in India.

There are rumors that Bharatiya Janatha Party(BJP) followed a similar strategy in the 2017 Gujarat elections. Incidentally, BJP was very active on social media and ran various promotional campaigns in the 2017 elections. However, there is no solid proof of the happenings.

Congress chief, Rahul Gandhi is making the most of the situation by taking a dig at Narendra Modi app. Hi! My name is Narendra Modi. I am India’s Prime Minister. When you sign up for my official App, I give all your data to my friends in American companies, tweeted Rahul Gandhi. This context of this sarcastic tweet is that BJP is using the user data and making illegal use of it to prepare campaigns in the following elections.

On the other hand, BJP leader, Ravi Shankar Prasad accused Congress of user data tracking. He claimed that Cambridge Analytica is helping Rahul Gandhi to build a strategy for 2019 elections. He claimed that this is Rahul’s ‘Bramhasthra’ against Narendra Modi for the following elections.

It is recommended for Indian users to stay cautious about their privacy while surfing social media platforms. Everyone should thoroughly check the permissions they are giving for an application. Any misleading or offending statements should be reported immediately.

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