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ORF VP slams Shekhar Gupta’s The Print for cheap clickbait headlines twisting ORF research data

The Print twisted the entire conclusion of the study for their clickbait headline and tried to show that Rahul Gandhi is doing better than Narendra Modi among the masses.

Vice President of Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and economics Professor Shamika Ravi slammed Shekhar Gupta’s web portal The Print for reducing ORF research to a cheap clickbait headline. Shekhar Gupta used ORF’s research on negative tweets doing well on Twitter to highlight that Rahul Gandhi’s tweets get more engagement on Twitter compared to Narendra Modi.

Shamika Ravi tweeted, “The irony! The Print uses clickbait headlines to explain our paper, the crux of which is: negativity sells on Twitter! Truth takes six times longer to reach 1,500 people than falsehoods. Negative tweets do significantly better.”

ORF recently published a research article titled ‘Social Media and Political Leaders: An Exploratory Analysis’. This research paper is written by Shamika Ravi and Mudit Kapoor. The objective of this research article was to outline comprehensive and systematic trends on how often the two political leaders, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, use Twitter to communicate with a larger audience and how many retweets, likes, and quotes are generated by their tweets. The research also aimed to understand whether tweets with different sentiments (positive, negative, and/or neutral) are amplified differently in terms of the number of retweets and likes.

The research concluded that Rahul Gandhi who is followed by 20 million followers on Twitter attracted more likes and retweets as compared to the likes and retweets attracted by Narendra Modi who has more than 75 million followers on Twitter. The research article also concluded that this difference is because Rahul Gandhi is repeatedly posting tweets that amplify the negative sentiments. In sharp contrast to this, Narendra Modi’s tweets were found to be the ones that amplify the positive sentiments.

Making a report based on this research, Shekhar Gupta’s The Print wrote a headline that reads ‘Modi has more followers & tweets than Rahul, but gets less engagement, ORF study finds’.

The headline used by The Print is a manipulation of both, the objectives as well as the conclusions of the said research by ORF. The Print report focused on the count of favorites in its headlines thereby implying that Rahul Gandhi is more popular than Narendra Modi at least amongst the netizens. It cleverly hid the response by Mudit Kapoor that this study was aimed to understand not only how the two leaders used tweets for their outreach, but also how social media giants can, through their algorithms, influence democracy.

The sentiments triggered by or expressed in the tweets of the two leaders were calculated in this research as -1 for the most negative impact, 0 for neutral, and +1 for the most positive impact. The mean sentiment score of Rahul Gandhi’s tweets during the sample period from January 2019 to December 2021 was 0.09 while that of Narendra Modi’s tweets was 0.54. The difference in the sentiments is also a reflection of the way in which both these leaders use Twitter, with one focusing on the negative and the other highlighting the positives.

The Print twisted the entire conclusion of the study for their clickbait headline and tried to show that Rahul Gandhi is doing better than Narendra Modi among the masses. However, as election after election has shown us, the people of India much prefer Narendra Modi to the Congress prince.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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