Why PM Modi lost 1 lakh followers on Twitter

Apart from Modi, some other accounts that lost a significant number of followers in the November crackdown were those of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Kiren Rijiju, minister of state for home affairs; Bhupender Yadav, national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and Anurag Thakur, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on IT. 

As allegations of political bias add to the woes of Twitter in India, an independent study on the Twitter profiles of political leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, has found many of them losing several thousands of followers after a November crackdown by the microblogging platform on fake profiles.

While Modi lost around 1 lakh followers, Gandhi saw his Twitter followers diminishing by close to 9,000 after the clampdown.

This is not for the first time that Twitter has carried out an exercise like this. In July last year, the micro-blogging site kicked off a similar project which saw PM Modi’s followers dipping down by 3 lakh and Gandhi lost around 17,000 followers. Even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey profile witnessed a downfall in followers count at that time.

In its recent crackdown, Twitter took into account over 900 Indian political handles including profiles of political parties and politicians available on the micro-blogging site. Apart from PM Modi and Gandhi, even other prominent politicians lost a significant number of followers in the November crackdown. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah lost as many as 16,500 followers, while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too lost around 40,000 followers.

The November crackdown has resulted in Twitter itself losing as many as 2.4 million followers. The busting of fake profiles was kicked off by the micro-blogging site after facing a backlash from several countries for not handling abuse effectively.

Twitter recently faced with allegations of being politically biased in India. The Parliamentary panel on information technology has asked CEO Jack Dorsey and other officials of the micro-blogging site to appear before the panel to discuss issues ranging from fake news and privacy to political bias.