In a major worry for the right wing ecosystem in India, it seems that Twitter India is targeting right wing handles and limiting their outreach. It is not a mere apprehension or hunch but is being illustrated by practical ground realities. It cannot be merely incidental that a number of right wing or center right Twitter handles are suddenly facing an acute drop in terms of number of followers. It seems that there is a well organised strategy of targeting a particular ideology at the major Social Media platform. A number of right wing handles have complained about this in their tweets and it seems that the right wing will have to battle it out.
Karan Bhasin spoke to tfipost.com and said, “The problem with platforms is when they can’t dictate where the line to freedom of expression is to be drawn. These issues are to be governed by the law of the land. Given how important platforms have become for the functioning of democracy, it is important to ensure that the platforms don’t try to influence the process of elections to their advantage. This, in itself is significant in the wake of the recent expose of data being used for electoral purposes by some social media giants. Governments world over should come together and create a framework to avoid such things in the future.” He even tweeted about this issue and said that it was sad to see how Twitter was targeting a particular ideology. He stated that he has seen the his father’s (@sumeetbhasin) Twitter followers falling from 4500 to 1500 and he fears that they might try to silence him as well.
Sad to see @TwitterIndia target people of a particular ideology. @TwitterIndia has unfairly tried to silence the voice of select people. I've an example of Dad's (@sumeetbhasin ) twitter followers falling from 4500 to 1500 in less than 24 hours
What if they try to silence me too?
— Karan Bhasin (@karanbhasin95) November 9, 2018
Another right wing thinker, psephologist Pradeep Bhandari told tfipost.com, “It is dangerous for Indian democracy that few people on Twitter can unilaterally selectively suppress my nationalist freedom of expression. This is a violation of fundamental rights in the digital ecosystem.” Thus, he shed light on how this sets a dangerous precedent and is harmful for the Indian democracy. He also tweeted about how the number of his followers on the Social Media platform suddenly declined from 18,200 to 12,900. This goes on to show how his handle has been targeted in order to limit his outreach.
Hello @Twitter @TwitterIndia @twitter I had 18.2 followers in morning. My followers have been reduced to 12.9k. I have not used any fake promotion. Nor have I done anything unusual WHAT IS This going on? @misskaul @amritat
— Pradeep Bhandari (@pradip103) November 9, 2018
However, it is not only Pradeep Bhandari and Karan Bhasin who are facing this issue. There are a number of other Twitter handles that support the right wing or center-right ideology which have been facing the issue of a sudden decrease in the number of followers. Several such right wing handles have tweeted about this issue and have condemned how a particular ideology is being arbitrarily and capriciously targeted. Sumeet Bhasin of the Public Policy Research Centre too tweeted about it and said that his follower count was suddenly reduced to one-third of what it was a couple of days ago.
.@TwitterIndia why has my follower count reduced to 1/3 of what it was two days ago? What's going on?!
— Sumeet Bhasin (@sumeetbhasin) November 9, 2018
Aadit Kapadia of MyInd Makers also tweeted about this and claimed that almost everyone was having this issue and wondered what was going on with Twitter. Shalini Singh, another Twitter user who exposed the 2G scam and is a bitter critic of the Congress Party shared a similar story. She tweeted that every time her handle crosses 29,900 followers it is pulled down so that it stays at 29,800. She took a dig at the Congress over this and claimed that it has been pushing her out of every platform since 2008.
Every time the number of followers on my Twitter handle crosses 29.9K, its pulled back so it stays at 29.8K. #Congress Inc has been pushing me out of every platform since 2008. Wonder how long they will keep up their mean & childish ways
— Shalini Singh (@shaliniscribe) November 9, 2018
Koena Mitra’s ordeal seems to be the most shocking one, she tweeted that she had lost 1,00,000 followers in a single morning! Before that she had 3,02,000 followers. Such a huge dip clearly hints towards foul play and ideological bias.
— Koena Mitra (@koenamitra) November 9, 2018
Sanjay Dixit tweeted that he was fed up of being censored on Twitter. He also said that he had joined gutrgoo, India’s very own Social Media platform. Sanjay Dixit deserves to be commended for taking this bold step and openly announcing it on Twitter. He seems to be determined to take on the leftist forces which are stopping to a new low in order to shun the voice of right wing propagators.
— Sanjay Dixit संजय (@Sanjay_Dixit) November 10, 2018
Even Suresh Nakhua, BJP spokesperson seems to be bothered about this serious issue as he tweeted that he has lost around 1000 followers in a single day.
Lost around 1000 followers in a day.
— Suresh Nakhua (@SureshNakhua) November 9, 2018
However, this does not come as a great surprise given that Mahima Kaul, Public Policy and Governance Head, Twitter India has been very vocal in her support for Rahul Gandhi. In fact, several of her tweets reveal her anti-Modi and pro-Rahul Gandhi bias. Therefore, the sudden dip in the number of followers of right wing Twitter handles is not at all mysterious. The reasons behind this sudden fall in the outreach and number of followers of such handles is crystal clear. Kaul’s politically biased approach seems to be a perfect explanation for Twitter India’s ideologically biased approach that has led to a sudden downfall in the number of followers of Twitter handles that stand by a particular ideology.
The Right Wing is undoubtedly battling a difficult and intricate situation. However, they should not feel too disappointed by this crisis. The ecosystem should hold itself together and battle it out with all its might. The fact that left leaning powers have to resort to such cheap tactics goes on to show that they are desperate. The Right Wing has a decisive advantage in the current political narrative and should march ahead notwithstanding such desperate tactics employed by the leftist elements.