Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday attacked the Congress for its alleged links with data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica, which is accused of misusing data sourced from Facebook.
He said that the agency roped in by Congress to run their 2019 campaign and termed as their ‘Brahmastra’ in certain section of media, is accused of using bribes, sex workers to entrap politicians and stealing data from Facebook.
“What link does Cambridge Analytica have with social media management of Rahul Gandhi and Congress Party,” Ravi Shankar Prasad asked.
Prasad also referred to news reports hinting that Congress was using bots to artificially increase the social media following of Rahul Gandhi and using data manipulation and theft to win elections.
“This is not just a question of Congress Party’s association with a rogue data analysis firm but it is a question of free and fair elections in India and democratic values of our country,” he said.
The Union Minister also asked the Congress president to explain role of Cambridge Analytica in his social media profile.
“Will Congress party depend upon data manipulation and theft to win votes? Mr. Rahul Gandhi should explain the role of Cambridge Analytica in his social media profile,” Prasad asked.
In a warning to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the Union Minister said that any covert or overt attempt to misuse social media including, Facebook to influence India’s electoral process through undesirable means will neither be tolerated, nor be permitted.
“Mr. Mark Zuckerberg you better know the observation of IT Minister of India, if any data theft of Indians is done with the collusion of FB systems, it will not be tolerated. We have got stringent powers in the IT Act including summoning you in India,” he said.
Facebook is having a tough time after Cambridge Analytica was accused of harvesting data of up to 50 million Facebook users without permission. It has allegedly used the data to help politicians, including US President Donald Trump and the Brexit campaign.