15,000 ‘Dislikes’ Disappear From PM’s Mann Ki Baat YouTube Video

On BJP’s channel, the dislikes decreased from 1.90 lakh to 1.80 lakh and on Modi’s channel it went down by 5,000.

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On BJP’s official channel, the number of ‘dislikes’ decreased from 1.90 lakh to 1.80 lakh and on Narendra Modi channel it went down by 5,000.
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The latest edition of PM Narendra Modi’s monthly radio program ‘Mann Ki Baat’, published on YouTube on Sunday, 30 August, has been steadily raking up lakhs of ‘dislikes’ on the official Bharatiya Janata Party, PMO India and Narendra Modi channels.

Since its publication, at 11am on Sunday, the video has received 9.7 lakh ‘dislikes’ or ‘thumbs down’ reactions compared to 2.7 lakh ‘likes’ or ‘thumbs up’ on the BJP channel. Similarly, on Narendra Modi’s official channel, Mann Ki Baat has 2.68 lakh ‘dislikes’ against 1.7 lakh likes while PMO India’s upload has 1.68 lakh dislikes.

However, in a highly unusual move, amidst the consistent uptick in number of dislikes, for at least three hours on Monday, starting midnight, the dislike figures went down by between 5,000 and 10,000 on both channels.

According to figures observed by The Quint, at least 15,000 ‘dislikes’ disappeared in total from BJP and Narendra Modi channels.

Two images of Mann Ki Baat on the official Narendra Modi YouTube channel. The first was taken at 1:34am on 31 August and the second at 2:04am.
Two images of Mann Ki Baat on the official Narendra Modi YouTube channel. The first was taken at 1:34am on 31 August and the second at 2:04am.
(Image: via YouTube)
Between midnight and 2am, the ‘dislikes’ on the Narendra Modi channel came down from 39,000 to 34,000. In a similarly unusual sight, on BJP’s channel the number decreased from 1.90 lakh dislikes to 1.80 lakh.

Given the thousands of comments by school and college students on issues related to JEE, NEET examinations and COVID-19, the primary movers behind this appear to be students.

Many have also commented stating they have disliked the video owing to the Centre’s intention to go ahead with the examinations amid the pandemic claimed this is a way to make their concerns heard.

The Quint has reached out to YouTube with a questionnaire but is yet to receive an official response. The story will be updated with YouTube’s response as and when it comes.

Two images of Mann Ki Baat on the official BJP YouTube channel. The first was taken at 1:33am on 31 August and the second at 2:06am
Two images of Mann Ki Baat on the official BJP YouTube channel. The first was taken at 1:33am on 31 August and the second at 2:06am
(image: via YouTube)

Anger in the Comments Section

There has been widespread discontent among students across the country with hundreds of users commenting that they were expecting the prime minister to speak on students’ concerns.

One user, who identified as AMIT BHATTACHARYA, garnered over 2,100 likes on his YouTube comment. Addressing PM Modi, he wrote:

“Respected PRIME MINISTER sir, i'm an aspirant of NEET... I'm not really concerned about giving exams now... but, i have few issues, that weren't addressed properly:

1. What about students from FLOOD areas?... how are they going to reach exam centres... Imagine if they fail to give exams, for which they have waited and prepared for 1 year.

2. What are the SOP's?... are they effective enough?... i assume no!

3. What about transportation for students whose exam centre and home is at 400 km separation or more? If the positivity rate has reached 76 percent, why can't we wait for another 30 days?... what if, within 30 days, the rate may reach 85 percent plus?... won't that be better?”

The anger appears to have percolated to other platforms like Twitter, where hashtags like #StudentsDislikePMModi was trending at number one on Monday morning along with other hashtags like #StudentLivesMatter.

However, the government has remained firm on its stand of conducting the two entrance examinations, saying that any further delay would lead to the loss of an entire year and force double the number of students to compete for limited seats next year.

Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal, the Union Minister of Education, has also claimed that it is students and parents who want exams to be conducted in September without any further delay.

While JEE Main will be held from 1 to 6 September, NEET UG will be held on 13 September.

Users Point to 30-Second Rule

This move, however, was quick to be noticed by users who began commenting on the decreasing figures, expressing their bewilderment. While many pointed fingers towards YouTube, some pointed out that the video needs be played for at least 30 seconds for the dislike to be accepted by YouTube’s algorithms.

One user commented asking, “How are the comments being deleted and dislikes being reduced?” Another user wrote, “The dislikes are being continuously reduced by BJP IT Teams when it reaches a high dislikes (sic).”

There is no evidence to suggest the BJP, in its official capacity, or its IT/social media teams, have anything to do with this.

Dozens of users, however, suggested that users let the video play for at least 30 seconds before clicking on the ‘thumbs down’ button in order for the dislike to be registered. “If you want to dislike the video, then watch the video for 30 seconds, then your dislike will be counted.”

Another user had the same message, “At least watch for 30 seconds or else dislike will automatically be removed by YouTube algorithm!”

Anger Spills Onto Other Videos

While the brunt of the discontent was borne by the Mann Ki Baat video, a number of other videos are also witnessing a higher ratio of dislikes.

For example, PM Modi’s 31-minute long Mann Ki Baat was also uploaded as shorter 1-9 minute video capsules along with the main video. These eight videos, ranging from topics like promotion of Indian toys, nutrition for students to Atmanirbhar App challenge, all received the ‘thumbs down’ reaction in excess of ‘thumbs up’.

Shorter video capsules of Mann Ki Baat program also saw a higher ratio of dislikes. 
Shorter video capsules of Mann Ki Baat program also saw a higher ratio of dislikes. 
(Image: Via YouTube)

One of the videos, titled ‘Team up for toys: PM Modi’s self-reliance push for toys sector’ had 3,600 dislikes, which was twice the total number of likes at 1,700.

Similarly, another short video from Mann ki Baat, ‘The kind of restraint being practiced across country during this time is unprecedented: PM’ had 12,000 likes and 30,000 dislikes.

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