News platform The Wire has reported a list of Indian women journalists who had been receiving abusive tweets from a secret app called Tek Fog with “BJP footprints”. The ruling party allegedly used the app to support its propaganda by influencing social media trends and monitoring conversations.
According to The Wire, a Twitter account by the name @AarthiSharma08, who claimed to be an employee of BJP’s IT cell alleged the existence of a secret app called Tek Fog. Claims were made that political dignitaries used the Tek Fog app to create social media trends and monitor personal and private conversations on social messaging apps like WhatsApp to support the propaganda of the ruling party.
Aarthi Sharma wrote ” There are many BJPITcell softwares, I was suggested to use ‘The Tek Fog’, this is secret app only for #itcellworks. It bypasses reCaptcha codes, is used for auto-uploaded tests and hashtag trends. However, pro-players of the #itcellworks are using Tasker app too.”
When inquired about the same, the source revealed to The Wire that, “their daily job involved hijacking Twitter’s ‘trending’ section with targeted hashtags, creating and managing multiple WhatsApp groups affiliated to the BJP and directing the online harassment of journalists critical of the BJP, all via the Tek Fog app.”
The Wire had investigated these allegations in order to verify such claims and the existence of such an app. It also tried to deduce with relevant evidence what it could or could not do and came to conclude that the app could hijack the trending sections of social media platforms, phish inactive WhatsApp accounts, harass individual using personal data base and other activities that could harm the sanctity of a democratic regime such our nation.
One of the reports concluded while investigating suggested that the app was used to bully Indian women journalists over a span of 5 months from January 1, 2021 to May 31, 2021. The list of female journalists receiving abusive tweets via Tek Fog was shared by the Founding Editor of The Wire M K Venu earlier today.
The list featured Rana Ayyub, Indian journalist and columnist at The Washington Post with the most abusive tweets followed by other journalists like Barkha Dutt, Nidhi Razdan, Rohini Singh, Swati Chaturvedi, Sagarika Ghose, Manisha Pande, Faye Dsouza, Arfa Khanum Sherwani and Smita Prakash.