Rahul Gandhi’s and Congress’ ‘resurgence’ – Bots are not the problem

Yesterday, Congress’ umpteenth attempt at relaunching Rahul Gandhi was laid bare by a simple investigation. It was revealed that a spurt in Rahul’s social media metrics, was actually a result of Russian, Kazhak and Indonesian bots fervently pushing up Rahu’s tweets. Congress and Rahul Gandhi were obviously panned for it. But are “bots” the real problem here?

Using bots for re-tweets or fake followers on social media, is one of the oldest tricks in the social media political book. No party is immune from this. A simple check on a popular site, which identifies “fake followers” (the way they define it) on Twitter, shows that across party lines, across countries, politicians and even religious leaders, have a large number of ‘fake’, inactive, or bot accounts following them:

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

One can always debate the technicalities and methodologies behind such tools and try to argue in a way agreeable to them, but the real issue is much larger.

We had hinted at this a few days back, and since then, it has got even bigger. In the week ending October 11, at least SEVEN (1234567) different mainstream publications were all praise for Congress’s social media “resurgence”, claiming that Congress has now got its act together on social media. This in spite of the fact that the Congress’ social media handle has been goofing up on a regular basis. But the media cheerleaders were not done yet.

Between October 12 and October 20, we again had a barrage of media reports glorifying Rahul Gandhi’s rise on social media. NDTV carried this piece by a journalist named Mihir Sharma:

Hindustan Times, had this piece:

DailyO – an opinion websites from India Today group – too had this piece, based on the same premise:

The parent organisation India Today too carried another article:

NDTV’s Nidhi Razdan even conducted a full prime time debate on this issue:

Did any media house from the above try to investigate this sudden surge in Rahul Gandhi’s social media metrics before running flowery, fawning pieces on him, Congress and their “resurgence”? Did they try to analyse whether the growth was organic or manipulated? Especially since some in the same media, had in 2015, wrongly raised suspicion when Modi received a sudden “boost” on social media. The boost as it turned out, was due to some technical change from Twitter’s side.

Were various media houses fed with this fluff-story to boost Rahul Gandhi’s image? Most stories laid the credit squarely at Divya Spandana’s doorstep, for reinvigorating Congress’ and Rahul’s social media fortune. What role did she have, in pushing such stories out? Can it be a coincidence that at least 12 different stories on the same false premise were published in various media houses across a short span of 14 days or so?

This is the real problem. Most of the legacy media, especially left-leaning one, which keeps harping about “fake news”, played the pliant fool, or the enthused cheerleader, in propagating a myth which was backed by Kazakh bots. The same media, which hangs on to every word by PM Modi or anyone from his team, to be fact-checked to the last detail, readily gulped down this narrative that Rahul Gandhi is back with a bang. The only thing back though is the public’s distrust of legacy media.

Editorial team of OpIndia.com

Share and Support:
Support OpIndia by paying for content

Most read articles recently

Here is why BJP lost elections, and of course, it was deliberate

What BJP supporters need to realise is this - no political party ever wants to lose and least of all, a party led by the two most politically aggressive politicians the country has ever seen.
Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Mizoram assembly election results

Latest updates and breaking news on counting day: EC declares 3 wins in Madhya Pradesh, all 3 go to BJP

Latest news and updates from 2018 assembly election results of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Mizoram.

Can the BJP satisfy its online supporters? If only it were Congress

BJP supporters online, also known as the ‘right wing’, are first to attack the party and write it off after electoral setbacks.

Prashant Bhushan and left-liberal cabal was actively helping Vijay Mallya in UK court by attacking CBI special director Rakesh Asthana

Vijay Mallya's defence team was using Indian left-liberals' allegations agaist Rakesh Asthana in London court

BJP’s real woes: Lessons from the electoral semi-finals

The prolonged silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah on election results was very telling. The results were clearly unexpected and possibly led to prolonged internal discussions on the future course of action.

Has PM Modi sounded the start of slog overs with the new RBI Governor’s appointment

Shaktikanta Das, who is currently a member of The Finance Commission and Former Finance Secretary (the one who presided over Demonetisation), has been appointed as the new RBI Governor by the Modi government

Mayawati extends support to Congress for Madhya Pradesh, may consider Rajasthan ‘to keep BJP out of power’

She said to defeat BJP in Rajasthan, too, BSP will extend support to Congress.

Demystifying Civil Society: Organization linked to ‘Urban Naxals’ wants schools to teach ‘Human Rights Education’

Federation for Human Rights (FPR) urged the government of Puducherry to introduce "Human Rights Curriculum" in the school curriculum in the Union Territory.

2018 assembly elections: the exit-poll predictions against the final results

Most of the pollsters have gone wrong in predicting the state elections, except few. These surveys can just be an indicator of the overall mood of the people in the state, otherwise, it should be taken with a pinch of salt. 

Latest articles

Connect with us

125,531FansLike
97,403FollowersFollow
6,058SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these