Tweets by BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra that alleged the use of a "toolkit" by the Congress party were flagged as "manipulated media" by Twitter on Thursday.
Patra’s tweets contained screenshots of a purported Congress document which he claimed were part of a PR exercise by the party to use the pandemic to destroy Modi's image.
The same claims were made by several senior BJP leaders, including , , , and .
Fact-checking website Alt News pointed out that the documents had been manipulated to include a Congress "research department" letterhead.
"An analysis by Alt News has revealed that the AICC Research Department letterhead has been tampered with in the toolkit document, raising questions about its authenticity," . "An examination of the content of the document, meant to strategise a future course of action, reveals that it refers to events that have already taken place in the past...Without the original document, BJP’s claims come across as inauthentic, especially because the ‘toolkit’ is made on a poor copy of the original letterhead used by the AICC’s research wing."
Twitter's decision to label the tweets as "manipulated media" – indicating that it's been deceptively altered or fabricated – came after the Congress wrote to the microblogging website on Thursday, . The Congress asked Twitter to permanently suspend the accounts of BJP leaders for spreading misinformation; the party additionally filed a police complaint against Patra and others.
Without investigating the matter, the toolkit controversy based on the BJP’s claims with headlines such as “Corona toolkit gang exposed?”.