Political Row Over Reports of Bots’ Role in Rahul’s Twitter Fame
Are bots retweeting posts from Rahul Gandhi’s official account? According to a report by ANI, the several thousand retweets on a tweet from @OfficeOfRG and US President Donald Trump, came from alleged 'bots' of Russian, Kazakh and Indonesian origin.
According to the report, upon close analysis it was observed that the Twitter accounts that retweeted Rahul's tweet had less than 10 followers and lacked original tweets, instead they only retweeted random topics from around the world. Interestingly, most of the bot accounts appear to have been created between 15-17 October 2017.
The ANI report also referred to other reports that claimed that Congress had sought help from Big Data analytics firm from Cambridge Analytica to woo more voters. The same firm reportedly advised Trump on how to target voters on Twitter through their online habits.
The report highlights the 15 October tweet, which saw Rahul retweeting Trump praising US-Pakistan bilateral ties with: "Modi ji quick; looks like President Trump needs another hug."
Rahul's comment is an intended dig at the government over the quick u-turn that US and Pakistan took after many months of a rocky relationship.
BJP Lashes Out
The retweet turned political, with Smriti Irani sharing the ANI report, tweeting: "Perhaps @OfficeOfRG planning to sweep polls in Russia, Indonesia & Kazakhstan ??"
Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore took took a dig at Rahul, tweeting: “this would come under doping”.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy tweeted:
Congress Rubbishes Report
Congress chief of Social Media and Digital communications, Divya Spandana wrote back to Irani rubbishing the report. She maintained the story is "factually wrong" and an attempt to "please the I&B ministry and the Bots Janata Party".
Rahul Gandhi is yet to comment on the matter.
As per Twitter policies, purchasing bot (fake) or hacked accounts in strictly prohibited. "Any account caught participating in this behavior will be in violation of the Twitter Rules and may be suspended," the rule states.