Rahul Gandhi announces to launch of an anti-troll army to combat sponsored-hate campaign on social media
On Monday, Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi announced his party’s plan for launching a nationwide anti-troll campaign to combat the online hate spread allegedly by BJP-sponsored IT cell. The party’s former president said that Congress would be recruiting about five lakh people, whom he referred to as “social media warriors”, to beat the online troll brigade, which has been spreading hatred and contributing to the polarisation of the country.
He said, “As a young person, you could see what is going on… In your schools, universities, and colleges you can see the oppression. You can see the attack on the idea of India. Look outside Delhi, you can see what is happening to the farmers. The backbone of this war on the nation is a troll army… We also need warriors to defend liberal values, to defend the ideas of compassion, peace, harmony, and affection.” He added, “This is an army of truth. This is an army that will defend the idea of India. We are building this platform for you. To give you tools to fight this battle and win.”
AICC social media head Rohan Gupta said that the drive, known as ‘Join Congress Social Media’ campaign, could be joined through website, toll-free number or by WhatsApp.
AICC in-charge (Administration) Pawan Kumar Bansal and party spokesperson Pawan Khera would be looking into the campaign.
Besides the opposition, BJP-led central government, on Tuesday, also announced a similar move stating that it would be setting cybercrime cell, to track, identify, flag and report about the illegal and unlawful activities content, including child pornography, rape, terrorism, radicalisation and anti-national activities.
The Modi government’s cyber program would be managed and controlled by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The ministry added that volunteers could register for the program with their respective state department or union territories to act as cyber volunteers. But critics said that the program contained many grey areas, and left more room for crime than vigilance. To mention a few, the government did not define what would constitute anti-national content or activity, and also did not provide any reason for launching the program.
As per internal sources, the program would be launched first on a trial basis in the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Tripura. The government would eventually scale up the program depending on the feedback. Sources added that the MHA’s Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) would act as a nodal point for this program.
One of the senior lawyers, in conversation with the Indian Express, highlighted that the move lacked clarification on multiple aspects. He said,” Firstly, there are no legal definitions of anti-national content or activity, either by the government or the judiciary. That is one big grey area. Secondly, giving people the option to report fellow citizens gives too much power without adequate checks and balances. What if I report you and get it reported by multiple people to settle my differences with you?”.