India Hate Lab (IHL)

France 24: India awaits results of general election marred by ‘unprecented’ disinformation

India’s six-week election was staggering in its size and logistical complexity, but also in the “unprecedented” scale of online disinformation.

Raqib Hameed Naik, from the US-based India Hate Lab, said they had “witnessed an unprecedented scale of disinformation” in the elections.

“Conspiracy theories… were vigorously promoted to deepen the communal divide,” said Naik, whose organisation researches hate speech and disinformation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came under fire for posts stoking sectarian tensions with India’s minority Muslim community of more than 200 million.

These included numerous videos, matching incendiary campaign speeches by Modi, falsely claiming his opponents were planning to redistribute India’s wealth in favour of Muslims.

Naik said such posts “aimed at stoking fear and animosity towards Muslims to polarise voters along religious lines”.

“The ruling party’s strategy of exploiting religious sentiments for electoral gain has not only undermined the integrity of the democratic process but also sowed dangerous seeds of division and hatred in society,” he said.

Read More