Congress wants Key members to submit Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and social media credentials to the party

In India Online by Jayadevan P K

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

The Congress party wants the members of All India Congress Committee (AICC) show details of their social media life in their bio-data, according to a new report. The All India Congress Committee (AICC) is the central decision making body of the congress party.

In a letter, party treasurer Motilal Vora, urges members to give details of their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts in addition to other details such as address and contact numbers, the Hindustan Times reports.

The ruling congress party has been facing ire in the online world for its previous attempts to muzzle freedom of speech on the Internet. The party is also having trouble with its members shooting off their mouths on social networking sites like Twitter and landing themselves square in the middle of controversy from time to time.

Lately, Indian politicians have begun taking cues from their western peers and have started using social networks to reach out to people. As we’d written before, one of the first to join Twitter from the political clan was Shashi Tharoor, who returned to India to chase a career in politics after numerous assignments in foreign countries as a United Nations official.

Mr Tharoor went on to become the first Indian politician to cross 100,000 followers on Twitter but soon he was in for trouble. His remark on Twitter, which referred to economy class flight as “cattle class,” did not go well with the Twitterverse or the real world. This was a classic case of what is now called an angry twitter backlash.

This was followed by many gaffes by Indian politicians on Twitter and Facebook.

The government, widely perceived as wanting to control the Internet, has been at the receiving end many times.  Recently, Hacker group Anonymous broke into the website of India’s minister of Information and Technology Kapil Sibal.  They replaced his site with images that portrayed him as someone who considers freedom harmful to the growth of the country. Sibal was earlier fiercely criticized for his attempts to censor the web.

Meanwhile, a controversial section of the Information Technology act has been misused to make arrests in the country. Two women in Mumbai were booked under the IT act for protesting a statewide bandh on Facebook. Similar incidents have made the Internet folk in India skeptical about the governments intentions.

The government has already issued social media guidelines for government agencies. Those rules do not apply to ordinary citizen but focuses on government departments and its agencies will communicate with people.