Not too long ago, Twitter decided to purge the micro-blogging website of fake accounts and bots. Recently, Twitter founder Jack tweeted that they will be suspending accounts that have been locked for suspicious behaviour. That would, of course, include bots, fake accounts, accounts which have been purchased, etc. He also warned that this might result in a follower count drop for many.
With the political narrative of India depending heavily on Social Media, most waited with baited breath to see which politician or which party’s supporters and workers would end up losing the most number of Twitter followers. Mostly as a vindication of the fact that the other side depends on fake and purchased followers to increase their presence. We ran an analysis of several political accounts. We calculated, using SocialBlade, how many followers per 1000 followers did these political accounts lose, post the purge.
The two top politicians in the country, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and the President of Congress party and Prime Ministerial contender, Rahul Gandhi, didn’t end up losing much. As supporters of either of the politicians would have hoped for the rival.
While Prime Minister Modi ended up losing 6.6 followers every 1000 followers of his 43 million followers, Rahul Gandhi lost 2.4 every 1000 followers, of his 7.2 million followers.
The official Twitter accounts of BJP and Congress also didn’t lose a substantial amount. While INCIndia (Congress handle) lost 3.5 followers per thousand, BJP4India (BJP’s official Twitter handle) lost about 4.1 per thousand.
Next, we analysed the followers of the heads of Congress and BJP IT Cells. Divya Spandana, Congress’ IT Cell Incharge ended up losing 14.3 followers per 1000 followers, while Amit Malviya, BJP’s IT Cell Incharge lost 3.2 followers every 1000 followers. Clearly, Amit Malviya lost a substantial amount less as compared to Divya Spandana.
Among the other politicians, for most, the impact was negligible. Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi lost 6.5 followers per 1000, Mamata Banerjee, CM of West Bengal lost 2.6 per 1000, Sitaram Yechury lost 2.5 per 1000, Akhilesh Yadav lost 2.6 per 1000. Nitish Kumar, CM of Bihar lost 2.1 followers per 1000 and Congress leader Digvijay Singh lost 8.3 per 1000.
Most other prominent Chief Minister haven’t been mentioned as the drop was substantially less, mostly, below 6 per 1000.
The politicians who stood out was Shashi Tharoor, who lost 22 followers per 1000. This is substantially more than most other prominent politicians.
Among the party workers, while we are still in the process of analysing many other accounts, the party member that has won the race hands down in Tehseen Poonawallah who is a relative of Robert Vadra, Sonia Gandhi’s son in law.
Tehseen lost a whopping 468 followers per 1000. That translates to Tehseen losing about 46.8% of his followers. Nearly half.
Shaina NC, who is a BJP spokesperson ended up losing 157 followers per 1000 which is also remarkably high, though substantially lower than Tehseen.
BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma lost 3.5 followers per 1000 whereas Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi lost 5.2 per 1000.
So far, the winners seem to be Tehseen Poonawala, Shashi Tharoor, Divya Spandana and Shaina NC. With the scales of fake accounts purged fairly tipped in Congress’ favour, we wonder what happens to the “Twitter resurgence” theory that Congress’ has tried to peddle and whether these substantial fake followers had something to do with it.
We analysed as many accounts as we could, and have come with a Top 10 list on the basis of followers lost per 1000 followers. In this list, we expanded our search to Media houses and some veteran journalists.
Though we tried to analyse hundreds of accounts to come up with this list, it is entirely possible that we missed analysing some Twitter handle that deserves to be in the Top 10. If so, we urge our readers to excuse us as it was certainly not intentional.