Thursday 21 January 2021
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Twitter pushes down PM Modi’s hashtag #IndiaSupportsCAA

The explanation on the Twitter support page is not convincing; not all hashtags appearing above #IndiaSupportsCAA qualify as 'breaking news'

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Social Media Twitter pushes down PM Modi's hashtag #IndiaSupportsCAA

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Narendra Modi) launched a hashtag on social media in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act. The prime minister posted a tweet using the official Twitter account of narendramodi_in.

Modi wrote in the tweet, “#IndiaSupportsCAA because CAA is about giving citizenship to persecuted refugees & not about taking anyone’s citizenship away. Check out this hashtag in Your Voice section of Volunteer module on NaMo App for content, graphics, videos & more. Share & show your support for CAA.” When last checked, the tweet had been retweeted more than 2,600 times and liked by more than 5,400 Twitter users.

The hashtag #IndiaSupportsCAA had been used with 4,73,000 tweets when last checked but it might have surprised many that this tag, despite being the most popular today, did not appear on top of the India chart. According to the Twitter support page,

The new algorithm identifies topics that are immediately popular, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis, to help people discover the ‘most breaking’ breaking news from across the world. (We had previously built in this ‘emergent’ algorithm for all local trends, described below.) We think that trending topics which capture the hottest emerging trends and topics of discussion on Twitter are the most interesting.

Twitter tries to explain its hashtag rankings
Twitter pushes down Modi's most popular hashtag
Twitter pushes down Modi’s most popular hashtag

The explanation above could have been convincing if the hashtags appearing above what the prime minister launched qualified as “breaking news”. Not all of them did.

In fact, one of the relatively less popular tweets that the micro-blogging site pushed up deals with the same topic. Check the screenshot to the right of this paragraph.

Outside Twitter, in the real world

Meanwhile, the BJP organised an ‘Aabhar Rally’ (rally for gratitude) on 22 December last week in the capital Delhi. Prime Minister Modi addressed this rally, breaking his silence on the Citizenship Amendment Act for the first time from the forum since the last parliamentary session.

Modi said, “If you do not like me, hate Modi, burn Modi’s effigy but do not burn others’ properties; do not burn what belongs to the poor of the country. Vent all your anger on Modi. What will you get from violence? Some people are throwing stones at policemen. Policemen are not enemies of anyone. After independence, 33,000 of our policemen have been martyred for peace and security. This figure keeps increasing.”

The prime minister said, “When we gave gas connections to 8 crore people under the Ujjwala scheme, did we ask about their religion, their caste? We only saw the poverty of the poor.”

“I want to ask Congress leaders why you are lying to the people of the country. Why are you are provoking them?” Modi said about India’s oldest party.

“These people are misleading the country. Today these people are confusing Muslims in the name of papers. India is being maligned in the world by making false allegations. These people are plotting,” he said about the atmosphere vitiated over the amended citizenship law.

Referring to the CAA again, the prime minister yesterday said in his radio broadcast Mann ki Baat that the youth of the country may want to protest against an idea but, by and large, they hate anarchy, violence and destruction of property.

The BJP, in the meantime, is reaching out to Muslims, who are seen on the forefront of the protests as well as riots, to explain to them what the CAA is all about and assuring them their citizenship is secure.

In the meantime, while users of social media are posting news of massive demonstrations in support of the CAA, mainstream media, both national and international, are highlighting the protests alone while also suppressing the protesters’ violent acts.

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