To malign the ongoing farmers’ protest in Maharashtra, instructions to circulate fake Twitter trend – #KisanThanksDavendra – is being shared in BJP Whatsapp Groups.
Pratik Sinha of fake news busting platform Alt News posted these images on Twitter:
He also shared the link to a Google doc that has sample tweets for supporters to share for propagating the fake trend.
[The link can be accessed here.]
Some of these tweets are:
- To tackle the agrarian crisis @Dev_Fadnavis led Maha Govt has invested Rs 30,500 crore to help farmers
- CM @Dev_Fadnavis working hard to make farmers debt free https://twitter.com/CMOMaharashtra/status/881904744179970048 #KisanThanksDevendra
- We will keep working hard to free farmers from debt & for sustainable agriculture – CM @Dev_Fadnavis #KisanThanksDevendra
- “Jackals under disguise of Sheep” are misleading poor tribals, exploiting them on the name of Farmer’s March. The middle class tax payers of state should oppose doling our more money for political appeasement in the name of agitation. #KisanThanksDevendra
Not the first time
Last month, BJP MP Paresh Rawal mistakenly shared a document exposing synchronised political assault that was to be launched by the BJP both on and off social media against the Congress.
The Google document was a list of tweets that the party members were supposed to tweet with the hashtag #JhoothiCongress. The tweets were in both English and Hindi and encompassed a number of issues on which the Congress party was to be targeted.
This was apparently supposed to be an internal document for the party and its (IT cell) members and was not meant to be shared publicly. Realising he probably jumped the gun, Paresh Rawal later deleted his tweet although it was too late.
In the past, Alt News had exposed how a Google document for trending #DemonetisationSuccess had circulated on social media, providing instructions on what and how to tweet, and what hashtags to use.
What is the motive behind circulating fake Twitter trends?
In simple words, it aims to misinform and misdirect those active on social media. If you are told the same thing again and again from different people you would believe it to be true.
Fake twitter trends are created to spread propaganda. It is damage control when you have no defense left. The idea is to digress the discourse to something completely opposite or completely false. When people engage in whataboutery, the issue at hand takes a backseat.
This is extremely dangerous for a democracy. It pushes people into echo chambers where they believe the misinformation fed to them and interact with only their kind. Viral content on social media which is accessible to every person with an internet connection makes or breaks opinions.
As aware citizens of this country, it is crucial we verify anything that we read on social media and not blindly believe everything that we see on our timelines. When we become informed citizens, we rip the power from troll accounts to manipulate us.