Ahead of the 2018 Karnataka elections, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT media cell in Karnataka has admitted to use the behavioural aspects of social media users to influence potential voters, which is exactly like Cambridge Analytica’s deeds of past.
Satish TM who is the state convener of the BJP’s IT media cell in Karnataka, told Mirror Now reporter Amitha Balachandra that it is the first political party to track behavioural aspects of social media users. In an exclusive interview to Mirror Now, Satish revealed that BJP It cell is micro-targeting social media users and potential voters ahead of the 2018 Karnataka elections.
Hear Satish revealing BJP’s social media secrets in Video within a Mirror Now’s tweet below:
— Mirror Now (@MirrorNow) May 9, 2018
“If you see the election scenario in the past two years, social media is the strongest tool to influence public opinion,” says Satish who is the state convener of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT media cell in Karnataka. He further divulges more details about the BJP’s social media strategy barely 72 hours before the state goes to the polls, telling Mirror Now reporter Amitha Balachandra that it is the first political party to track behavioural aspects of social media users.
“Members of the BJP IT media cell generate content and data every single second using advanced data analytics”, he says adding, “More than 50,000 booth commissions have been organised and 8,000 WhatsApp groups have been created in the state of Karnataka alone.”
He further goes on to say that the inspiration behind BJP’s mammoth social media campaign in Karnataka was drawn from the work done by its social media cell in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections last year where the party came out victorious. Satish also said that the same people running the IT media cell in Karnataka were sent to UP to train workers and they are the same members who have now trained workers across Karnataka’s 224 constituencies.
Notably, Satish is also a director of Bangalore-based Digital Vision Pvt. Ltd., a company offering digital marketing services to businesses. The company, which according to one of its employee is Google partner, has several complains from its own employees at an Indian consumer complaint online forum.
According to cyber experts, what BJP It cell doing here is exactly the same as what Cambridge Analytica was accused of doing.
“Social media micro-targeting by political parties is a strategy that allows them to profile each of us as viewers and as voters based on our likes and dislikes on social media and manufacture content aimed at changing our opinion about their respective political parties,” said cybersecurity experts Savio Joseph and Ritesh Bhatia to Times Now.
Cambridge Analytica which was deeply involved in a controversy over its handling of Facebook Inc user data, and its British parent firm SCL Elections Ltd decided to shut themselves down earlier this month.
Earlier, in March, it was revealed that PM Narendra Modi’s app NaMo is sending personal information of its users to a third party website in.wzrkt.com. Various media outlets fact-checked this and found it to be TRUE. Notably on Android alone, the Narendra Modi App is downloaded over five million times.
Last August, whistle-blower agency Wikileaks released a report wherein it stated that US-based Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is using tools devised by US-based technology provider Cross Match Technologies for cyber spying that may have comprised entire database of India’s Aadhaar having data of over 1.2 million Indian citizen,
Via – Times Now