India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stands accused of using a secret software application named Tek Fog to manipulate public opinion and intimidate, harass, and abuse political opponents.
A detailed, multi-part investigation by The Wire after a whistleblower tip-off indicated that the BJP had been artificially inflating the party's popularity, harassing its critics and manipulating public opinion across a number of major social media and mobile platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter.
The revelations prompted public condemnation from politicians, rights groups, The Editor's Guild, and The Delhi Union of Journalists, and has spurred an investigation by India's Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs.
In November 2022, The Wire said it would review its TekFog series in the wake on a controversial investigation conducted by the same team of journalists.
Operator: Bharatiya Janata Party; Mohalla Tech/ShareChat; Persistent Systems
Developer: Bharatiya Janata Party; Persistent Systems
Purpose: Manipulate public opinion; Harass opponents
Technology: Application; NLP/text analysis
Issue: Safety; Privacy; Bias/discrimination - race, gender; Mis/disinformation
Transparency: Governance; Privacy
Investigations, assessments, audits
News, commentary, analysis
Published: January 2022
Last updated: December 2022