Its Originally Published By The Quint
On November 9, the day after he announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lost over 3 lakh followers on Twitter.
This unfollowing may be seen as people’s backlash against the demonetisation move. But there seems to be more to all of this. Because the very next day, the PM — the most popular Indian in Twittersphere with over 24 million followers — suddenly gained over 4 lakh followers, more than the number he had lost.
So what is the real deal? We try to get down to the bottom of it.
The stats on the abrupt plunge and surge in Modi’s Twitter followers are from a third-party company. Twitter doesn’t officially vouch for data from third-party companies.
So, we got in touch with Twitter itself, but the social blogging platform refused to comment on the matter.
Some news reports seem to suggest one explanation for the entire affair. The reports claim Twitter had faced a technical glitch on November 9 that caused this big drop in Modi’s count of followers.
Digital experts we spoke to said that, in all probability, over 24% of PM Modi’s followers are bots. So, could this ‘technical glitch’ really mean that Twitter had taken off the bots and fake followers making up the PM’s follower count?
The experts said that such a fall doesn’t happen often. (But when it does, Twitter never shares the reason for it.)
It has come to our knowledge, for instance, that Amitabh Bachchan had seen a similar sudden dip in his follower numbers back in 2014. Then too, Twitter had cited a technical glitch, a digital expert told us.
But what bothers us is the bizarre co-incidence that the drop in Modi’s followers taking place a day after the day of the demonetisation announcement.
Add to that, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal saw a rise in their number of followers on November 9 (although they are nowhere close to the social popularity of PM Modi).