After the announcement of the new taxation system called Goods and Services Tax (GST), Gautam Adani, the Chairman of Adani Group, applauded GST as a game-changer via his Twitter account. He tweeted, “GST to be a game-changer in India’s ease of doing business – simplified tax, transparent systems, better compliances #OneNationOneTax“. Promptly came many responses to his tweets reminding him to pay up his debts which stood at 72,000 crores at the end of September 2014 quarter. Usually, in case of politicians, when they are attacked, party supporters come out to support them on various issues. However, in case of Adani, a set of Twitter accounts started defending him, all of which had nothing to do with the Adani group.
Each one of the six accounts in the screenshot above use similar language/phrases and consistently used the three hashtags #Adani, #AdaniGroup, #GautamAdani. That indicates that these accounts were given a recipe for the tweets which they were faithfully following. We searched for others Twitter accounts tweeting along the same lines during the period 30th June 2017 to 2nd July 2017 and we found a few more Twitter accounts that were defending Adani and the pattern matched the tweets in the above screenshot. Twitter acccounts @ShriBhivaskar, @dare2zak, @ShahidsSuperFan, @Tweet_Tweet_Raj, @nishajg, @rthakkar11, @kp_85, @sanjayp33862979 and @Pooja__G were the ones involved in defending Adani during the aforesaid period.
This same set of Twitter accounts were found supporting Bajaj Finance with the hashtag #ThankYouDoc.
The same set of Twitter accounts were also promoting the Star Plus soap opera ‘Iss Pyar ko Kya Naam Doon‘.
These Twitter accounts will tweet anything you want, trend any hashtag they are asked for. They are tagged/emailed/DMed (DM = Direct Message) when organised campaigns are to be run and detailed instructions are sent over. For eg, Pooja__G in the above tweets is tagged in the following campaign.
Increasingly, views on social media are not genuine but those that have been bought and tutored. Corporates and political parties depend on companies who control an army of social media profiles and these profiles tweet based on a prescribed script in order to shape public opinion. While there is nothing illegal about the said activity, it shows the degeneration of social media which was originally meant for genuine people-to-people interactions and not for boilerplate interactions with pre-programmed bots.