Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In a scandalous revelation, a furtive operation by Cobrapost exposes about two dozen IT companies running the business of building or destroying reputations online.
The operation, codenamed Operation Blue Virus, shows how IT companies across the country are using social media platforms to help politicians falsely increase their fame and malign their opponents.
The companies, as per the exposé, are offering their clients bogus fan-following on Facebook and Twitter. Moreover, they are also doing negative publicity against a political leader or a party, or a corporate house, at the behest of their opposite camp, all for money.
Their client list includes corporate houses, NGOs, scam-tainted senior government officials, individual politicians and political parties. Interestingly, the companies offered to create fake profiles of Muslims to engage the minority community.
Cobrapost associate editor Syed Masroor Hasan, posing as a henchman, approached such companies to launch a branding exercise for a fictitious netaji on social media before the upcoming Assembly Elections. This should be done besides launching a negative publicity campaign against his opponent’s reputation, employing methods not necessarily ethical or legal.
The companies offered services such as generating lakhs of fake following on Netaji’s Facebook page, besides generating a good number of followers on Twitter. They also promised to ensure that no negative comment would appear on the Facebook page.
Also, they would carry out negative publicity against Netaji’s opponent.
To leave no trace of their deeds, they would use assembled computers to carry out negative campaign and annihilate them after the completion of the project.
They also offered to make promotional videos go viral on YouTube and send bulk SMSs and e-mails.
Bipin Pathare, an IT professional, said to be the saviest among those investigated by Cobrapost, offered to also provide details like booth-wise demographics of voters. He also offered to explode a bomb, or spread rumours of a riot situation, forcing Muslim voters to stay indoors on the day of elections and pave the way for bogus voting.