Hyderabad: Telangana Congress, in an apparent bid to make itself appear popular on Twitter, has been employing the use of Twitter Bots. The Congress’ chicanery came to light after a tweet by a Twitter user with the handle @Samirnutty to IT Minister KT Rama Rao about how some Telangana Congress party tweets were suddenly receiving several ‘likes’.
In his Tweet, @Samirnutty said one his tweets criticizing GHMC suddenly received 9 ‘Likes’ from Twitter users, who looked like foreigners.
Telangana Today team dug a little deep and was startled to find that these ‘Likes’ were in fact the handiwork of fake Twitter Bots engaged by the Congres. It was also noticed that the same set of Twitter Bots are being used by the Congress to ‘Like’ and ‘retweet’ tweets posted by Telangana Congress’ Twitter handle.
Nearly every one of the bots that either ‘Liked’ or retweeted Congress tweets have statuses that say stuff like “where are all the boys hiding? I’m a single female seeking sone nsa fun, get in touch!” with Twitter handle @JayeMondoza3861 or “are you looking for a female? Im looking for a guy. just to have fun. nothing serious….” with Twitter handle @AlaysiaLutz1692. Other names include the likes of @JudiPotthastLKH and @willeneillsworth whose status too reads “where are all the guys hiding? I’m a single girl seeking sone nsa fun, contact me.”
While it is evident that Telangana Congress lags in online following, the investigation found that the party regularly uses Twitter Bots to artificially amplify their Tweets, pointing to a sign of desperation by Congress to win the online war.
All political parties have been vying to increase their reach with people using social media platforms, particularly with social media penetration increasing by the day. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp are the more popular ones among political parties to send their messages to their intended or sometimes widespread audiences. While the TRS has been using the social media platforms aggressively, the Congress is struggling hard in the online space.
While the TRS enjoys popular support from lakhs of volunteers across the globe, KTR has been leading the party’s online presence.
In terms of Twitter followers, KTR is the undisputed leader with a whopping 14,00,000 followers, while TPCC president N Uttam Kumar Reddy’s follower count is a meagre 40,000. Among political parties, TRS again leads with over 2,33,000 followers. Telangana Congress, in contrast, has a mere 32,700 followers.
Even when it comes to interacting on Twitter, Telangana netizens who are ardent followers of the TRS, have been very active as well as creative. And they have proved that they are not willing to let Congress get away with attempts to either besmirch the party or its leaders. One such event involved Uttam Kumar Reddy’s attempt to belittle KTR as a person who washed dishes. But to Congress’ surprise, the tables were literally turned on it by pro-TRS Twitteratti that jumped into the fray quickly with witty counters that resulted in #IamADishwasher become a trend on Twitter.
Recently too, the pro-TRS Twitter users launched another hilarious hashtag named #BonnetKeNeecheyKyaHain – mocking Telangana Congress president and reminding people about how cash worth crores of rupees was burnt during 2014 elections, while transporting it in his car bonnet.
In what appears to be a clear case of Congress top bosses being rattled by the pro-TRS onslaught on Twitter, the opposition party looks like it has resorted to use of fake Twitter Bots in a desperate measure to make its presence felt online and employ any means possible to win the online information battle on Twitter. While use of fake bots remains possible online, in real life, the Telangana Congress is likely to find itself that it cannot engage a similar strategy to increase its votes when the State goes to polls on December 7 to elect MLAs to the Legislative Assembly.