This is my 3rd Video Blog. Original Video is uploaded on Samyukta Media’s YouTube Channel. Those uninitiated, Samyukta Media is my media brand.
The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s Twitter presence is something to talk about. He is probably the most followed politician in the world (given our population we are always big in quantity) with approx 33 million Twitter followers and he follows back an exclusive group of around 1700 handpicked Twitter users. Many of these 1700 blessed people are dangerously abusive, routinely giving death/rape threats to dissenters, use most despicable language. Alt News has a comprehensive list of these abusive twitter users whom PM follows.
That the PM of the country would decide to handpick such abusive hate mongers to follow on Twitter, is a matter of concern and it has even duly discussed in the Parliament. 3 years into the office of Prime Ministership, Modi has not un-followed these abusers and continues to tacitly encourage their behavior by the social media blessing of a ‘follow back’. “Proud to be followed by PM Modi” is displayed on their Twitter bio which gives them some sort of credibility and more and more hateful herd of followers.
The issue crossed all limits of normalcy when one such abuser called deceased journalist Gauri Lankesh a bitch and celebrated her brutal murder in the most cringe worthy words. This triggered a massive debate on Twitter and many Twitter users registered their protest by blocking the PM’s profile, trending the hashtag #BlockNarendraModi.
“Why do you follow abusive people?” is a simple question. We all know why we follow someone. We follow those whom we like for eg. movie stars; those from whom we get important information for eg police department, health department; those whom we know are important people whose voices matter and so on. We always follow for a reason. The way Twitter works is – who will follow me is not my concern, but who I chose to follow back is a decision I take after some consideration. When we open an account on Twitter, we start following a set of people. Usually Twitter itself will recommend leading names to be followed, from field of films, politics, sports and so on. We also follow our friends and acquaintances. As our Twitter journey begins we see that other people are following me, and then it is our decision whether to “follow back” those following us or not.
Follow back is a sort of culture, an etiquette most applicable to Twitter celebs. When fans follow a Twitter celeb, if the celeb also follow them back, fans feel immensely happy. But it is only a small handful people celebs would follow back. How it works is that if I get a follower a notifications come to me, I visit that followers profile, and see if that person is worthy of following back. This is where I have to apply my judgement. Who I follow back is a decision I have taken and I should be able to defend my decision. That is why, if later it is found out that I am following someone who is abusive, I should realize my mistake of following back the wrong person and unfollow the person.
The question therefore is what makes Narendra Modi follow back these handpicked abusive self proclaimed right wing Hindu nationalists, BJP supporters and Modi fans and what makes him not unfollow them after they have been exposed?
After much water has flown over head, Amit Malviya, BJP’s IT cell head today gave a lame statement in which he called this simple question as a contorted mischievous controversy. There is no controversy Mr. Malvia, its a simple question. Following someone is a conscious decision. When you take a decision, you should be able to defend it or explain it. Can Modi explain why he chose to follow those people?