In the day and age where what happens on Twitter becomes primetime news and hits the headlines, the impact of social media cannot be ignored. One of the reasons why many politicians and political parties have now taken to Twitter to let the message across directly, especially when mainstream media is quite likely to distort it.
The Congress party is no different. Congress’ official handle on Twitter today tried to expose “how fake news is spread” by BJP. Congress tweeted and asked people to identify how many tweets on the running Twitter hashtag ‘#BlackMoneyCrackdown was actually copied from a google document. The Congress has long alleged that BJP hands out a document to some of its supporters with sample tweets which are in turn used to by many to ‘trend a hashtag’.
However, the google doc link that was tweeted by the Congress party, from where many tweets were allegedly copied to “spread fake news” and trend the hashtag #BlackMoneyCrackdown, held an unexpected surprise. When one clicked on the google doc link, it took people to a document that had a funny meme of Congress President Rahul Gandhi. The document said “Arey yaar mein toh majak kar raha tha. Ullu banaya bada maza aaya”. The text was accompanied by an image of Rahul Gandhi winking during the No-Confidence motion after hugging Prime Minister Modi.
One Twitter user uploaded how it looked via video.
Divyaspandana said Rahul Gandhi is personally monitoring social media of his party. Now I believe she was right. ?? pic.twitter.com/vSOUdleZym
— Smoking Skills (@SmokingSkills_) July 24, 2018
The tweet by Congress’ social media handle talks about is one of the annoying things called ‘trending hashtags’ – an activity where multiple handles flood Twitter by tweets with a pre-decided hashtag to play around the Twitter algorithm to get a hashtag ‘trending’. From political parties to film stars to even self-styled godman accused of rape regularly use this to get a point across. While the authenticity of content in many such trends is questionable, to refer to ‘trending hashtag’ as ‘spreading fake news’ because certain tweets were copied-pasted from a Google Drive document is a far stretch of the imagination.
However, upon clicking the link shared by Congress in their tweet, it would take you to the above document which has the meme of a winking Rahul Gandhi. In all probability, the original document had something else, and once it was shared by Congress social media team, the content in the original document got edited. Or it could have been a trap laid by a prankster and Congress fell into it and ended up mocking Rahul Gandhi themselves.
However, Congress, instead of claiming that BJP changed the content after being ‘exposed’ chose to delete the tweet instead. It just shows how sensitive Congress is about their Prime Minister-hopeful. Earlier, too, a Congress leader was sacked for sarcastically using ‘Pappu’ to defend Rahul Gandhi, even though he now seems to have adopted the name. Fear of Rahul Gandhi being offended because he was mocked is so much that a journalist with The Wire even wanted an Australian to be thrown into jail for referring to Rahul Gandhi as a ‘joke’.
Hence, given the circumstances, it is understandable why Congress Twitter account deleted the tweet.