Cobrapost, the site which is getting popular for sting operations, yesterday revealed the underbelly of social media in the form of #OperationBlueVirus. In short the undercover operation was done to reveal how social media agencies are working day and night to buy fake followers, remove negative sentiments of the opposition, post content from different foreign locations and so on and so forth. In doing so Cobrapost has uncovered about two dozen such companies which are running this shady business of social media brand building and online reputation management.
While we debated that the revelation led to nothing new and is a common strategy followed by most of the political parties in the country, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has endorsed the claims made by the site. According to The Hindu, the minister also added that he had feared the same for some time and stated, “I had raised these issues in the recent Intelligence Bureau conference. My worry is being proved right.”
Further to this he also told reporters yesterday that he would like to get more details on the issue of misusing social media platforms from security agencies.
Fear from social media is not new for Sushilkumar Shinde. In the recently concluded three day DGP conference in the capital he lamented that “mischievous” use of the social media is sparking off communal trouble, ethnic clashes and reviving militancy in states like Punjab, and said there was a need to monitor such propaganda over the internet.
Prior to that while laying the foundation stones of BSF and SSB battalion headquarters at Sitarganj in Uttarakhand he had stated that the Centre is contemplating measures to stop misuse of social media, which poses a serious threat to internal security.
Even though the latest expose by Cobrapost shares facts that is not alien to the industry, the government is quite likely to use it to bring social media under the surveillance of law.