India’s Modi once relied on Facebook and Twitter. Now, is he ‘going the China way’? – By Kunal Purohit
With a total of 114 million fans on Twitter and Facebook, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of the world’s most followed politicians, using these platforms to share everything from policy updates to selfies with foreign leaders.
As his fan base grew, so did a flood of disinformation and abuse on social media, often perpetuated by supporters and members of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against their detractors. The torrent of hate, especially towards minorities and women, often led critics to accuse Twitter and Facebook of being too closely linked to the government and failing to stem the flow of fake news.
But a divide between both sides is emerging, as the government seeks greater control of digital media amid a wave of discontent over India’s coronavirus pandemic response and other policies – expressed on the same platforms that helped Modi to amass a zealous following.