After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s information and technology head, Amit Malviya on Thursday, 18 October, accused the Congress of sponsoring ads on in Pakistan on Facebook, the latter’s official page disabled the ads running on Facebook, as reported by BOOM.
Malviya had tweeted a screenshot of the verified of Congress’s Facebook page which showed Pakistan as an option under the head ‘Active ads from Indian National Congress’. According to Facebook’s help section on ‘How do I see a Page’s ads?’, users see page ads that a page is running in their respective countries, if there are any.
Official Congress page sponsoring ads on Facebook in Pakistan to remove Modi! pic.twitter.com/F9hhMFEPzS— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) October 18, 2018
Video recording of Congress’s official page where it can be seen that they are running ‘मोदी हटाओ’ campaign in Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/yny5P2VVMN— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) October 18, 2018
As per BOOM, on Thursday, 18 October, the page did feature a drop-down option which had Pakistan as an option, but there were no visible ads for that option. The option no longer appears on the desktop and mobile, which indicates the feature has been disabled by the page admin after it went viral on social media.
Malviya’s claims on Twitter were disputed by several users accusing him of photoshopping the screenshot. But, according to BOOM, the option was still visible.
The Quint reached out to the social media team of the Congress and a source from the team said, “There is absolutely no truth to this allegation – we did not target Pakistan for this ad in any capacity.”
"Our targeting was reserved for Indian states & cities only. The option for Pakistan may have appeared on our page because we targeted Amritsar + 40km – the radius includes Lahore – please find a screenshot of this attached. Also even though the option for Pakistan appeared, when you clicked on it no ads were visible – please see the attached screen shot." - Congress’ social media team
The source added, “Therefore, we’re not sure what Amit Malviya did to make it appear the way he has – however, experience has taught us to take everything he says with a bucket of salt.”
(The story was updated with Congress’ response)
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