Speculated that shady operators manipulate play the social media to make and mar reputations and help netas damage rivals during elections. Now, a Cobrapost sting confirms their existence and reveals that they do such jobs for a price, going up to crores of rupees.
Operation Blue Virus reveals cold, bitter truths on about IT companies that use the social media for nefarious ends. Pretending to be a politician's henchman, Cobrapost editor Syed Masroor Hasan asked these companies to launch a pre-election branding exercise for a tainted netaji on social media. This imaginary netaji wanted his opponent maligned to help him win the polls.
None of the companies turned down the buisness proposition. One IT professional even drummed up a damaging blitz against a fictitious company while another agreed to malign his boss, Cobrapost founder Aniruddha Bahal, even after being told about his identity. The companies offered to get fake likes on their Fcaebook pages. They also proposed using a computer virus to inflate the likes and to generate Twitter fans. Promotional YouTube videos and bulk SMSs and emails would be used equally to destroy the reputation of the rival apart from fake videos showing him in a compromising position.
If this is shocking enough, sample this: Bipin Pathare of Mumbai's Om Consultancy offers to provide software that splices the demographic data of voters with addresses and contact details. Our netaji could use it to identify a locality where a certain community commands a majority. They can be compeleld to stay indoors using a false rumour or by detonating a crude bomb. This helps effective booth management. Mohit Mahajan of Cloudmay India, a Noida-based IT company, has software to reach thousands in a moment. Remarkably, such tools can be manipulated to achieve horrible consequences while identities.
In one case, Priyadarshan Pathak of Websol Media, a Gurgaon company, started a campaign against Mercury Aviation, a fictitious company, accusing it of money laundering and helping terrorists. Pathak thretaened its management. All this he did for Rs 92,000 from the US, hacking a computer with someone's help.