The tweet was about police action against farmers during their ongoing protests on Delhi’s borders against farm bills of the Central government
NEW DELHI — Twitter has labelled a tweet by the head of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) the social media cell as “manipulated media”. This is the first reported case of Twitter taking such an action in India.
The labelled tweet by Amit Malviya was about police action against farmers during their ongoing protests against farm bills of the Central government on Delhi’s borders. Malviya’ tweet was an attempt to debunk an allegation made by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi that a paramilitary personnel hit an elderly farmer.
Malviya posted a short clip showing that the farmer was not hit and wrote a caption: Rahul Gandhi must be the most discredited opposition leader India has seen in a long, long time.
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 28, 2020
But Malviya’s bid backfired as independent fact-checking websites like Boom Live and Alt News found that the cop did wield his baton while the farmer was running away.
The longer version of the video shows two police men wielding batons, one of which hits the farmer.
“Amit Malviya shared a few seconds of a clipped video to suggest that the elderly farmer wasn’t hit. This was an attempt to water down the force used by the police against the protesters. Whether the baton touched the farmer or not is irrelevant. The video was shot at a time when large numbers of protesters had broken police barricades and the cops were retaliating with cane-charge and tear gas,” Alt News said in a report.
Boomlive also spoke with the farmer who said he was hit and also showed his injury marks.
"They can say I have not been hit but I am right here if they want to come and see my injuries," Sukhdev Singh, a farmer from Kapurthala, Punjab, told BOOM. BJP IT Cell head @amitmalviya tweeted a cropped video to suggest Singh escaped unhurt. #FakeNewshttps://t.co/StRoTxbFk4
— BOOM Live (@boomlive_in) December 1, 2020
The fact-checking was followed by Twitter action, labeling Malviya’s tweet as “manipulated media”.
Moreover, Twitter said: The video of a police baton missing an elderly man during the farmers’ protest is edited, according to BoomLive and AltNews.
The decision to label Malviya’s tweet emanates from the company’s policy on synthetic and manipulated media according to which, it “may label tweets that include media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated”.