The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is training an army of 15,000 social media ‘warriors’ in Delhi to counter “rumours” and stem “fake” news(HT File Photo)
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is training an army of 15,000 social media ‘warriors’ in Delhi to counter “rumours” and stem “fake” news(HT File Photo)

15K AAP workers to counter fake news on social media, ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections

Using Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, these volunteers, to be trained by mid-December, would be expected to keep a tab on whatever is shared on these three platforms, call out the content which they find fake and finally counter it with facts.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Gulam Jeelani
PUBLISHED ON NOV 13, 2018 10:57 AM IST

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is training an army of 15,000 social media ‘warriors’ in Delhi to counter “rumours” and stem “fake” news ahead of 2019 general elections.

Using Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, these volunteers, will be trained by mid-December, would be expected to keep a tab on whatever is shared on these three platforms, call out the content which they find fake and finally counter it with facts.

“The idea is to have these 15,000 people focus on social media by keeping eyes and ears on ground and counter the rumours or fake news with facts whenever needed,” said Ankit Lal, AAP’s social media strategist who is overseeing the training exercise.

Since 2014 Lok Sabha polls, all political parties have been betting big on social media by keeping their “warriors” ready for the virtual fight leading up to the battle of ballots. A few months ago, Delhi BJP said it created hundreds of WhatsApp groups with its national president Amit Shah as a member.

AAP said it devised the fresh strategy for effective results by constitution of organisational structure for the social media warriors right from Lok Sabha segments to the municipal wards. Each of the seven Lok Sabha constituencies, 14 districts and 70 assembly seats of the national Capital will have three office bearers each, including one woman -- an incharge, co-incharge and a president. Each of 272 wards will have one incharge for this job.

“We have trained the office bearers up to assembly level. The training will be over by midDecember after which the office bearers will pass it on to the volunteers in their respective areas,” Lal said. The training includes aspects of sending out tweets and Facebook posts and shooting and editing videos.

While each person part of the exercise will operate from a personal account on Facebook and Twitter, he or she has to ensure presence in WhatsApp groups active in the locality.

“By virtue of being politically active in their areas, the volunteers and office bearers are part of at least 500 WhatsApp groups. Also, 70% of people have their Twitter handles and the rest will create their handles,” he said.

The strategy was finalised during a recent meeting of 800 IT cell and social media volunteers from the party with AAP convener and Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal who coined slogan “Jhooth Ka Jawab Sach Se”.

The Delhi’s ruling party has already sounded the poll bugle with Kejriwal seeking votes and funds during the door-to-door campaign that kicked off last month. It aims to contest all seats in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana in 2019.

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