Rahul Gandhi's twitter handle 'OfficeofRG' has been the topic of various news outlets recently, citing a rise in retweets as evidence of a resurgence of Rahul Gandhi's interaction on social media. However, a cursory glance at the twitter handles retweeting the Congress Vice President's tweets does throw up some questions...are these automated 'bots' mass retweeting Rahul Gandhi's tweets?
On October 15th, 'OfficeofRG' retweeted US President Donald Trump's tweet praising American-Pakistani relations with a caption 'Modi ji quick, looks like President Trump needs another hug'. The tweet quickly reached 20,000 retweets and currently has touched 30,000.
A close analysis of this tweet showed that these alleged 'bots' with a Russian, Kazakh or Indonesian characteristic were routinely RT-ing the Congress VP's tweets. Further scrutiny of these Twitter accounts showed that the follower list was usually under 10 users and retweets comprised of random topics from across the world and those of Rahul Gandhi.
Reacting over the controversy over sudden rise in Rahul Gandhi’s social media popularity, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday Retweeted an ANI article which made a close analysis of Gandhi’s Twitter followers and wrote, “Perhaps @OfficeOfRG planning to sweep polls in Russia, Indonesia & Kazakhstan ?? #RahulWaveInKazakh”.
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) October 21, 2017
When asked about this apparent inorganic spike Divya Spandana/ Ramya, the new Congress chief of Social Media and Digital communications wrote back, "On Twitter one tweets and what happens after that is not in our control. You will have to speak to Twitter to get clarity."