Paid tweets: Twitter users offered money to praise demonetisation

Ramarko Sengupta December 9, 2016 3 min

The BJP government has faced a fair bit of flak and bad press on the evils and demerits of demonetisation ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi carried out his “surgical strike” on black money on November 8. To seemingly counter the bad publicity, social media influencers have received an ‘offer’ to make the hashtag #IndiaDefeatsBlackMoney trend on Twitter, FactorDaily has learnt from one prominent Twitter influencer who has over 30,000 followers on the platform.

Who the offer came from could not be immediately ascertained, but there is clearly a Maharashtra angle to it. The influencers have been asked to tag @narendramodi @arunjaitley @Dev_Fadnavis in the tweets — the Twitter handles of PM Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis. The bundling of the Maharashtra CM with the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister does stick out.

The brief to the influencers is “Our job is to share positive effects of demonetization”.

The sample tweets range from talking about how the demonetisation move “has brought Kashmir unrest to a halt” to how it will give a fillip to the economy.

While there have been some speaking in favour of the Modi government’s decision to pull out Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from circulation overnight with the purported intent of curbing black money in the economy, most have spoken out against it — whether it’s on social media or in the press.

The source who did not wish to be named, said the directive to make the hashtag trend has been doing the rounds among influencers. There is a whole paid-to-tweet industry whose job is to make hashtags trend, there are even agencies and internet marketing servicing firms that take up projects from clients whether it is corporates or political parties to get a hashtag to trend.

The communication to make the hashtag #IndiaDefeatsBlackMoney trend comes with detailed instructions, as is the case with most such directives. It comes with a complete timetable and a warning to not “spam”. It also urges the influencer to modify the sample tweets shared in the communication.

We are trying to find out the sum offered to the influencers and will update the story once we know. Typically it’s a two-digit sum for every tweet.

A screenshot of the social media campaign doing the rounds.


UPDATE: Twitter user  ‘SamSays’ started searching for fake tweets using the hashtag mentioned in this story, and unearthed a minefield of tweets using the same language, including the same typos.

Also read: Infibeam IPO: Why Twitter’s Dirty Secret — Paid Tweets — is not funny anymore

Also read: Social media is a world of conspiracy theories, innuendo, gossip, paranoia, sheer craziness: Ram Guha 


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Update: The story was updated on Dec 9 at 6.05 pm to add tweets by 'SamSays'.