Congress never hired Cambridge Analytica, BJP a factory of fake news: Randeep Surjewala

The Congress hit back at the BJP over charges that the party will use data consultancy Cambridge Analytics in 2019 elections, said it’s the saffron party that used the firm for 2010 Bihar polls.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2018 19:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Tines, New Delhi
BJP,Cambridge Analytica,Congress
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala at a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.(ANI Twitter)

The Congress on Wednesday denied the party or its president Rahul Gandhi ever used or hired Cambridge Analytica after information technology minister Ravi Shankar said they “roped in” the British data analytics firm, accused of misusing Facebook user data to target US voters, to run their 2019 electoral campaign.

“It is a fake agenda and white lie being dished out by Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference.

“The BJP’s factory of fake news has produced one more fake product today. It appears fake statements, fake press conferences and fake agendas have become an everyday character of the BJP and its ‘lawless’ law minister Ravi Shankar,” Surjewala added.

Read: Ravi Shankar Prasad says Cong has hired Cambridge Analytica, warns Facebook against interfering in polls

The Congress leader, in turn, accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal(United) of using Cambridge Analytica’s services in 2010.

“The firm’s Indian partner Ovleno Business Intelligence (OBI) is being run by the BJP ally’s MP’s son. OBI company’s services were used by Rajnath Singh in 2009,” Surjewala said.

Divya Spandana of the Congress’ social media cell earlier dismissed the BJP’s charges as “absolutely false”.

Cambridge Analytica obtained data on 50 million Facebook users from 2014 via means that deceived both the users and Facebook, the New York Times and London’s Observer reported on Saturday.

The data was harvested by an application developed by a British academic, Aleksandr Kogan, the newspapers said. Some 270,000 people downloaded the application and logged in with their Facebook credentials, according to Facebook.

The application gathered their data and data about their friends, and then Kogan passed the data to Cambridge Analytica, according to both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.

Cambridge Analytica has denied the accusations.

First Published: Mar 21, 2018 17:51 IST