Opposition parties on Thursday came down heavily on the BJP-led NDA government for creating “a digital mob” and using digital India to divide India.
Participating in a calling attention motion in the Rajya Sabha, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said the party had created the culture of a digital mob and social media had been used to condition mind.
“The BJP created the culture of digital mob. Social media is used to condition minds. Fake news is their monster. Under BJP rule, digital India equals divisive India,” said O’Brien.
The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said the number of lynching cases increased in the last one year as 40 such cases were reported from 13 states.
Sometimes rumours were made into excuses. People deliberately spread rumours and reach in advance (at a place) to foment trouble, said the veteran Congress leader.
“What did you do with the (BJP) leaders who felicitated people, convicted of lynching and out on bail, or meet people accused on communal crime inside a jail. Had you taken action against your minister or MPs all lynching incidents would have stopped,” Azad said.
“Right-wing extremist organisations spread falsehood and intimidate people using social media,” said CPI leader D Raja. “Social media is being used to strike terror among the minds of the society,” commented nominated member and eminent lawyer K T S Tulsi.
Responding to the members' concerns during a calling attention motion notice on the misuse of social media platforms and propagation of fake news causing unrest and violence, Union Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it is a challenge before the government to prevent abuse of the social media while retaining its core character that empowers a common man to ask questions to top leaders.
Prasad said the government had asked the social media companies to provide technological solutions to verify fake news and filter out provocative messages.
“The government is seriously considering that through appropriate rules all social media platforms should be required to locate their grievance officer in India. The duty of such grievance officer should cover not only to receive grievances on real time basis but also to inform law enforcement agencies," Prasad said.