Chatna pathap ki asonba, akhannaba rules kaya siginaraga Facebook na Reliance company ama gi achouba senjaogi mateng louraga BJP bu promote toukhi hairi.
*KHANG-HANJABA: Masi gi report asi The Reporters’ Collective ki investigative report ni. Originally English ta Part mari thokna publish toubani, TFM na Meeteilon da handokpani, Regional Language readership ki damak.
Kumar Sambhav & Nayantara Ranganathan ani gi report
New Delhi: 2019 gi parliamentary elections da, leingak pairiba Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) na terrorism case ta chennaba sadhvi ama bu sougatkhi. BJP na Pragya Thakur kouba nupi si Rajya Sabha gi candidate ama oina loukhatkhibaga loinana Facebook ta paogi maong da eeba headline yaoba advertisement ama hapkhi hairi.
Advertisement aduna lanna haikhi, madudi Thakur si Mahrashtra gi Malegaon da pokhaikhiba bomb gi wathok ka mari leinana masagi motorcycle sijanahankhiba gi case tagi “acquitted” oirae haina. Malegaon blast ta sikhiba mioi taruk ni. Masi gi advertisement sae nongmada 300,000 views fangkhi. Adubu asengbadi, Thakur si houjikfaoba trial maithengnari hairi. Mahak election mai pak-khi, medical ground da bail fungaba matungda.
April 11 gi tha amagi managda, Facebook ta yaoriba advertisement asi na opposition party Indian National Congress ki president Rahul Gandhi gi mayokta pao sandok-khi. Ningsingba yai, madudi, Rahul Gandhi na maigi speech amada BJP sae terrorism gi mayokta safu kanba thourang loukhatpa ngamdae haikhi. Rahul Gandhi na haikhi, 1990s da BJP na power pairingei, moigi oiba leingak na Masood Azhar, Pakistan da leiba khutlai paiba group, India na su terrorist group ni haina laokkhiba ama bu thadokkhi. Rahul Gandhi na karemnana Azhar bu Azhar ‘ji’ koukhi.
Facebook advertisement adu na Rahul Gandhi gi speech adubu puwarigi context ki wangmada thamkhi. Pao maannaba eeba advertisement adubu NEWJ thaba logo hapchanlaga, headline da “Rahul Gandhi na Massod Azhar bu Azhar “ji” kouyi: haiba headline pikhi aduga pao saba item ado numit marini subada 650,000 muk views fungkhi.
Facebook ki Ad Library gi matung eenna, Facebook ki page ‘NEWJ’ na advertisement animak ki peisa thikhi. NEWJ gi full form di New Emerging World of Journalism Limited, kouyi, masi Jio Platforms Ltd, India gi khwaidagi chaoba telecom amasung internet conglomerate ki subsidiary company ni, mapu na billionaire oiriba Mukesh Ambani gi Reliance Group.
Election Commission of India gi asonba, chatna pathap amadi Faceboo ki selective application of law thiraga, India gi khwaidagi chaoba conglomerate na peisa millions kaya sijinaraga masigumba ‘surrogate advertisements–ads in favour of a political candidate’, candidate masana pukhokpa peisa nattabida – India gi prime minister Narendra Modi amadi BJP bu 2019 parliamentary elections amasung state 9 da toukhiba elections da makhoi gi mingchat fajanaba seenkhi.
Facebook na surrogate advertisements singbu theegatlaga namthaba thou-ong paikhatkhi – transparency and accountability leinaba. Adubu Facebook na tourammiba crack down asidi BJP gi opposition oiriba Congress pu sougtapa advertisement loukhokpa oina toukhi aduga NEWJ gumba mayam di madugu safu fangkhidae.
Houkhiba chahi amasida, India da leiba The Reporters’ Collective, non-profit media organisation oiriba asina ad.watch kouba project ama paikhatkhi. Project asina thigatkhiba hiramdi – political ads on social media – oikhi. Project asi analyse toukhibadi –
“based in India, 536,070 political advertisements were placed on Facebook and Instagram from February 2019 through November 2020, to assess the influence of Facebook’s political advertising policies on elections in India” – Oikhi.
Makhoina data mayam si Facebook’s Ad Library Application Programming Interface (API) sijinaraga, tha 22 da fungkhiba data mayam – 2019 national election amadi state 9 da toukhiba elections su yaona study toukhibani. Maduda fungkhiba analysis ki matung inna, Facebook ki advertising platform si world gi khwaidagi chaoba electoral democracy da BJP pu michang naiba advantage ama pi hairi.
Ahanba series amagi part oina, makhoina hairi, “Facebook allowed a firm funded by India’s largest conglomerate to work the legal loophole to publish surrogate advertisements in favour of BJP and help it reach a wider audience.” Makha tarakpa parts ta yaorak-kadaba topic na “the scale and impact of BJP’s surrogate advertising ecosystem and how even Facebook’s algorithms– instructions and rules coded in a software– provide an upper hand to BJP over its competitors during elections”, hairi.
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NEWJ hairiba start-up group asi gi pandam di – “news content” bu miyam da, social media gi thuthangda khun-gang amasung sahar kaya youhanbani, hairi. Adubu asengbadi, hairiba company asi Facebook amadi Instagram da ad space leiraga political advertisement bu pao manna eeraga BJP bu promote toubani hairi. Masina BJP promote toubada nattana, misinformation touraga Muslim sentiment amasung opposition gi mayokta sok-hanli hairi.
Achamba Facebook user singna post touba nattabida, masigumba Facebook ki paid ads singsina thajadaba mayong da yamlaba miyam gi account sing da youhanba ngami su hairi. “Advertisers can target users based on several data points such as users’ location, demographics and behaviours that Facebook monitors and collects data on. Claiming transparency ahead of the elections, Facebook started tagging and displaying “all ads related to politics” in India in the Ad Library in February 2019” hairi.
Ad Library na utli madudi NEWJ page asi, hairiba matam aduda 170 political advertisements happi. Masigi advertisement topic singa – “Most either glorified BJP leaders, projected voters’ support for Modi, stoked nationalistic and religious sentiments —the poll planks of BJP – or mocked opposition leaders and the rallies they held” oi hairi.
Masigi advertisements singsi fajana yenglubada yaoramliba machak singgi marakta kari kari oirami hairadi – “there were carefully spread out amongst the relentless stream of non-political, informational videos about India’s history and culture or user-generated viral video content–such as a disabled woman writing a university exam with her foot, or a police officer feeding a disabled kid –that NEWJ posts to capture eye-balls for its social media channels” ni hairi.
NEWJ gi founder Shalabh Upadhyay haiba misi magi emung manung ga Reliance amasung BJP ga yam naknei. Mahakpu pokpa Umesh Upadhyay si Reliance Industries Ltd ki president and media director oiri. Hanna mahaksi Reliance na mapu oiba Network-18 group ki President oirammi. Network-18 group ki news channels mayam lei. Mahakki uncle Satish Upadhyay si Delhi BJP gi president ni.
NEWJ hairiba group asina BJP mari leinei leinadae publicly decalre toudae aduga BJP su moiga mari leinaraga political ads semmi haiba declare touba leitae.
NEWSJ houba January 2018 dei na March 2020 faobada, NEWJ si news operation dei revenue earn toudae, advertisement happagi peisa su fundae. Masi nattabida, NEWSJ na peisa tingkhok-aga Reliance Group ki advertisements happi.
“Publishing surrogate or ghost advertisements that favour a political candidate but are not directly funded or authorised by that candidate is a crime under Indian law to make sure that political parties are held accountable for all the information they put out and to prohibit unknown sources of money to be used to pay for ads for election campaigns. But the Election Commission of India, the body that regulates elections in the country, does not extend this ban to digital platforms like Facebook, despite being aware of the loophole for years”, The Reporters’ Collective na RTI toubada masi utlak-ee.
Facebook ki “Meta” su masigi rule si implement toudae. Masina maram oiduna Reliance-funded NEWJ na BJP amasung party gi candidates mayam Facebook amasung Instagram da, elections matamda promote tou-ee.
Masiga loinana, Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen na leak touba documenta, Facebook na industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) amadi ECI da lobby tounaba hotnei – madudi ECI na parliamentary elections da social media platform singbu akanba regulation toudanaba.
Facebook nadi surrogate advertisement yadae haiduna parliamentary election gi mamangda hairaga moina Congress ki advertisement sing target toukhi.
“In a much-publicised crackdown on what it called “Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour”, an action it took on its platform in several countries, it removed 687 pages and accounts that it said promoted the Congress Party but concealed their association with it. Only one page and 14 accounts that promoted the BJP were removed. Those were owned and operated by an IT firm called Silver Touch which had not formally declared its link with BJP”, The Reporters’ Collective na hairi.
Interview amada Nathaniel Gleicher, the Head of Cybersecurity Policy, Facebook na haikhi, “We’re looking here for pages, groups that are designed to look independent, but are actually linked to an organisation or political party and trying to conceal or hide this link.”
Adubu masi gi announcement sigi hapta khara gi manungda, Sophie Zhang, former Facebook employee and whistle-blower na The Reporters’ Collective ta haikhi, “But within a few weeks of this announcement, Facebook internally declared a global freeze on actions against Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour originating from within a country,”
Ahanbada Congress-linked pages mayam target tourambadagi, konna atei party singsu loina 2019 elections gi election matam da target toukhi.
Adubu The Reporters’ Collective na hangba wahang da Facebook Meta na hai ““We apply our policies uniformly without regard to anyone’s political positions or party affiliations. The decisions around integrity work or content escalations cannot and are not made unilaterally by just one person; rather, they are inclusive of different views from around the company, a process that is critical to making sure we consider, understand and account for both local and global contexts.”
It added, “Our enforcement against Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour was never stopped and continues even after the April 2019 elections.” Meta’s full response sigi (PDF) file sida paba yagani.
Adubu, BJP nadi NEWJ pages tagi kaannaba mayam loukhrae, makhoigi leaders amasung party promote touduna houkhiba election mayam da hairi, The Reporters’ Collective na.
February 2019 dagi November 2020 faobada, NEWJ na 718 political advertisements tha 22 amasung election 10 manungda. Moigi advertisement singsae 290 million times henna views fangkhi Facebook users singna. Hairiba company sina Lupa 5.2 million ($67,899) gi advertisemnt pikhi.
Si gi ads singsina anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan sentiment sagatpa oikhi, BJP gi mayokta leiba miosing amadi critics pu see-dha-khi aduga Modi leingak pu awangba thakta thagatkhi.
April 2019 da, national elections ki tha amagi mamangda, Modi na haikhi “India has stopped the policy of getting scared of Pakistan’s threats. Every other day they used to say ‘we have nuclear button, we have nuclear button’. What do we have then? Have we kept it for Diwali (a major Hindu festival in which Indians burst fireworks)?”
Masi gi comment si gi reaction oina, hannagi Jammu and Kashmir gi chief minister oirambi Mehbooba Mufti na tweet ta haikhi “If India hasn’t kept nuclear bomb for Diwali, it’s obvious Pakistan’s not kept theirs for Eid either. Don’t know why PM Modi must stoop so low & reduce political discourse to this.”
Mufti gi tweet pu Modi gi speech ki context yaodabida, NEWJ gi advertisement amana Mehbooba Mufti na Pakistan bu sougatlae haikhi.
May 2019 national elections gi matungda, NEWJ gi stories singna government policies amadi BJP leaders thagatkhi hairi.
December 2019 da, BJP na luchingba Indian government na Citizenship Law bu amend touraga thangnaba mapan leibak tagi lakpa refugee sing Muslim yaodabida India da khundabagi yabagi law sem-sakhi. Masi gi mayokta, Indian gi mapham kaya da protests toukhi. November 2020 da, NEWJ na Facebook ki advertisement amada video ama utkhi. Video duda Bangladesh ta communal oiba thoudok ama yaokhi. Masi ga mari leinana, anouba citizenship law bu karigimakta support touroidoino hairaga makha takhi – “minority Hindus have always been the victim of anger (of majority Muslims in Bangladesh)
Aduga Rihanna koubi seisakpi amadi global celebrities singna India gi farmer singi protest ki maramda comment tourubada, NEWJ advertisement ama hapkhi. Hapkhiba advertisement duna hai “why the “celebs” spoke on the “instigated” farm protests but were quiet when “India is attacked.”
Shalabh Upadhyay amasung magi sister Deeksha na NEWJ si private limited company oina houkhibani, paid-up capital of 100,000 rupees ($1306) changna January 2018 da. November tangkhai chanlakpa matam da, Reliance group company Reliance Industrial Investment and Holdings Limited (RIIHL) na NEWJ bu lousinkhi 75 percent equity stake fanglaba matungda. Aduga company sida 84 million rupees ($1.1m) via convertible debentures su hapkhi.
Peisa leirabanina, NEWJ si na social media da video production and publishing houkhi. Masi gi video singsi kari oi haibada – advertisements that promoted the BJP, financial records and NEWJ production on Facebook and YouTube show. NEWJ sae financial year March 2019 da revenues of 3.37 million rupees ($44,003) fungkhi aduga net loss na 22.06 million rupees ($288,046) oikhi.
Onlakpa chahi da, Reliance na NEWJ da atoppa 25 million rupees ($1.63 million) happi debentures ka loinana. Financial year ending March 2020, NEWJ da revenue record amata toukhidae adubu advertising promotional expenses ti 27.3 million rupees ($356,467) oikhi, 6.06 million rupees ($79,128) henna mamang gi chahi dagi. Matamduda RIIHL stake sae atoppa Reliance group company amana loukhi. Adudi Jio Platforms Ltd, India gi khwaidagi chaoba telecom operator, financial year ending March 2021 da masi companysae revenue 902.9 billion rupees ($12.07 billion) oikhi .
Jio lousinkhiba numit tarukni matungda, NEWJ ‘Articles of Association’ amend touraga magi “investor,” haibadi Reliance group company da right to approve “content guidelines” pikhi NEWJ na kari content hapkadabano haibana chingba gi phirep lounaba.
Jio na atoppa Rs 84.96 million ($1.12 million) NEWJ da pikhi at 0.0001% annual interest rate in the financial year ending March 2021. “Jio counts Facebook as an investor”, hairi The Reporters’ Collective na.
NEWJ gi video “exclusively on social media” singsae aggregate ta 22 billion miosingna yengi, hairi
The Reporters’ Collective ki question answer toubada, NEWJ Chief executive Shalabh Upadhya na hai, “As one of the largest social-first news publishers, NEWJ is dedicated to delivering transparent and impactful independent journalism … To this end, we strictly abide by Meta’s community guidelines and advertising policies while following the recommended authorisation processes to ensure integrity, transparency and quality of our reportage.”
ECI amasung Facebook na mit khumjinba
Election money power dagi kannaba-gi-damak, election laws gi matung eenna candidate amama na peisa kayam campaign da spend tougadabano haibagi rule piri, Karigumba, third-party amana candidate amagi advertisements print and electronic media da pirabadi, madugi candidate adugi spending da hapkadabani. ECI na paoga maanana eeba paid ads traditional media da phongba thigatli. Karigumba paid news oirammaba, madu su candidate ki election expenditure da yaogadabni. Adubu masigi rule mayam sae social media da happa advertisements sing gi matangda yaodae.
“In 2013 the Commission made it mandatory for all political parties, candidates and their authorised agents to get social media advertisements pre-certified from the Commission and report the expenditure on them. But it kept the advertisements placed by third-parties, entities not officially linked to the candidates, out of this regulation, leaving the window open for surrogate advertisements”, hairi The Reporters’ Collective na..
October 25, 2013 gi order matung eenna, ECI na haibada social media si electronic media ni aduna advertisements singsae mannaba maong da regulated oigani haina. “But it added that it was still considering how to deal with content posted by people other than the candidates and their parties “in so far as they relate to, or can be reasonably connected with, the election campaigning of political parties and candidates” hairi.
The Reporters’ Collective’s RTI query gi response ta hairi adudi “earlier this year to ascertain the outcome of these consultations, the ECI cited the “Voluntary Code of Ethics” that industry body the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) had drafted in March 2019 for social media platforms “to maintain the integrity of the electoral process.” The Voluntary Code of Ethics does not have any specific recommendation on surrogate ads, a loophole that was well exploited in time for the Parliamentary and nine state elections.”
America gi election influence tou-e haina chennabadagi, Facebook na policy ama 2018 puthokhee. Masi gi policy si na political advertisement happa sing identity amasung address thigatlaga display tougadabani hairi. “Facebook, however, doesn’t verify whether the identity disclosures by the advertiser is truthful. Nor does it check if it might be funding those ads on behalf of political parties or their candidates”, hairi The Reporters’ Collective na..
Facebook ki standard ki matung eenna, NEWJ si independent news organisation ni haina qualify toudae.
Hanglubada, Shalabh Upadhyay na NEWJ sae Al Jazeera gumbani hairak-ae.
“We utilise the Meta Ad Library to amplify our content across genres which showcases high engagement with our audiences – a standard industry practice employed by other digital publishers such as NowThis, Brut, Vice and AJ+ as well to name a few. By doing so we are able to serve our users while reaching out to greater audiences with factual news that aligns with their interests,” he said. Upadhayay’s full response si da paba yagani (NEWJ response).
The RIIHL, JPL, the ECI amadi BJP na The Reporters’ Collective ki questions singda reply touraktae reminder tharafaobada.
Aduna, houjik hangadouba wahangdi:
“Reliance na promote touba NEWJ si khatra BJP bu secretly Facebook Ads sijinaraga sougatlibasae, ma gi association haidoktabida? Part 2 da surrogate advertising ecosystem on Facebook ta kana kana no leirisae haiba khara yaogani”.
Kumar Sambhav is a members of The Reporters’ Collective (www.reporters-collective.in) and Nayantara Ranganathan is a researcher with ad.watch (https://ad.watch ). This story was originally published in English by Al Jazeera (www.aljazeera.com)