Union minister Smriti Irani on Saturday took a dig aimed at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, after a media report claimed that the recent uptick in his social media traction may well be due to bots.
According to a report, a number of automated bots with a Russian, Kazakh or Indonesian characteristic have been frequently retweeting Rahul’s posts on Twitter. A Twitterbot is a software which may autonomously perform actions such as tweeting, retweeting, liking, following, unfollowing, or direct messaging other accounts.
On this the Union minister Smriti Irani said, “Perhaps @OfficeOfRG planning to sweep polls in Russia, Indonesia and Kazakhstan?”
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) October 21, 2017
Union minister Rajyavardhan Rathore wasnt too far behind and compared the alleged use of bots to ‘doping’ in sports.
In sports, this would come under ‘Doping’…. hey wait!does ‘dope’ remind you of someone https://t.co/xulfk1ENtI
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) October 21, 2017
Rahul Gandhi’s twitter handle ‘OfficeofRG’ has been the topic of various news outlets recently, citing a rise in retweets as evidence of a resurgence of Rahul Gandhi’s interaction on social media. However, a cursory glance at the twitter handles retweeting the Congress Vice President’s tweets does throw up some questions…are these automated ‘bots’ mass retweeting Rahul Gandhi’s tweets?
On October 15th, ‘OfficeofRG’ retweeted US President Donald Trump’s tweet praising American-Pakistani relations with a caption ‘Modi ji quick, looks like President Trump needs another hug’. The tweet quickly reached 20,000 retweets and currently has touched 30,000.
Modi ji quick; looks like President Trump needs another hug pic.twitter.com/B4001yw5rg
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) October 15, 2017
A close analysis of this tweet showed that these alleged ‘bots’ with a Russian, Kazakh or Indonesian characteristic were routinely RT-ing the Congress VP’s tweets. Further scrutiny of these Twitter accounts showed that the follower list was usually under 10 users and retweets comprised of random topics from across the world and those of Rahul Gandhi. Moreover, the content of these twitter timelines comprised merely of retweets and a lack of tweets which could be categorised as an original thought.