Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused the Centre of concocting a story about his party’s alleged links with British data firm Cambridge Analytica to divert attention from the death of 39 Indians in Iraq. The government has come under sustained criticism for allegedly giving false hope to the families of the hostages.

Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday alleged that the Congress had links with Cambridge Analytica, which reportedly used the private data of more than five crore Facebook users to help United States President Donald Trump’s election campaign in 2016. The Congress then accused Prasad of spreading “white lies”.

On Thursday, Prasad alleged that Gandhi had met officials of Cambridge Analytica and that the company has been managing Gandhi’s social media campaigns. “Congress has maintained a conspicuous silence,” he claimed.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also criticised the Congress chief, and asked if he has a problem with the government going after people accused of stealing the private data of Indian social media users.

‘We don’t deserve to serve you’

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerbeg has admitted to mistakes that led to the private data of more than five crore users of his social networking site allegedly being used for Trump’s political campaign in 2016.

“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t, then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook page. He pledged to take measures to protect user data and make it harder for apps to harvest user information.

Zuckerberg gave a detailed timeline of the events that led to the “breach of trust”. He has now pledged to investigate all Facebook apps that had access to user data before the guidelines on data access was changed in 2014. He also said the company would conduct a full audit of all apps to investigate any suspicious activity. Facebook said it will restrict developers’ data access even further in future.