As the debate over the CAA, NRC and NPR continue both on streets and on social media, it has emerged that huge amounts of money are being spent on rigging polls and public opinion against the initiatives of the government. A Reddit user, who goes by the username onosmosis, has claimed to have been running dozens of web servers on the Internet to run campaigns against the BJP government at the centre.
The Reddit user posted the following message on r/india subreddit, informing about his ‘project’:
For the last three months, I have been running more than 40 servers on AWS to analyse social media, particularly Tweets from 2 lac+ bot accounts and run a campaign against the IT Cell of the current regime. This has been a resource-intensive task, and as you can see in the screenshot attached, it has been expensive as well. But the report and results of the campaign are showing. It’s consistently defeating the rigged Twitter polls of the IT Cell and giving more energy/voice to the people protesting against this draconian law. I will publish this extensive report later tomorrow on my blog for you all to consume. What makes me happy is that government with so much power and money are not able to do a thing if men and women are willing to think. Let’s keep protesting. I am contributing with my technology skill till I can.
The user claims that by running as many as 40 servers on Amazon Web Services to campaign against the government, he is able to consistently defeat “rigged Twitter polls of the IT cell”. Which means the technological resources are being used to vote on polls to defeat the IT cell. The user claims to be running or manipulating more than 2 lakh bot accounts on Twitter, which if true, is more than enough to rig any Twitter poll.
In a follow-up post, the user says that as we are not living in an ideal scenario, he decided to monitor and manipulate Twitter accounts of bots run by the IT cell of BJP. He adds that it took a lot of money and energy, but it was worth it. He has promised to release the results of his manipulation soon on his blog.
He also attached a copy of transactions with Amazon Web Services for the 40 servers he has rented. It shows that an amount of ₹2,00,361.42 was paid on 20th November, and another amount of ₹2,11,869.90 is due to be paid. This means more than Rs four lakhs have been spent in just two months to manipulate Twitter polls to show that people are not supporting CAA and NRC.
The posts received responses from numerous Reddit users offering their help in ‘defeating BJP IT cell’ by using technology. Many of them claim to be highly qualified in the fields of data science, programming, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, software development, and other areas of information technology, offering their help in collaborating in the ‘project’. Many of them also suggested moving the discussion to Slack or Telegram so that it can’t be seen by others. Some users also offered help in reducing the AWS bill, and many suggested running a fundraiser campaign to pay for the bills.
Going by the Reddit posts and the huge number of supportive comments they have received, it can be said that full fledge campaigns are being run to defeat BJP on the Internet. When some online poll shows people voting against CAA or NRC, it may because of more than 2 lakh hijacked bots voted against them, not real persons. And this is just one user, there may be many such online resources being dedicated behind the curtains.