A hashtag #RahulWaveInKazakh trended for a long time on Twitter yesterday. This hashtag was trending in response to an article by ANI where they exposed 10 Twitter accounts from various countries like Russia, Kazakhstan and Indonesia that had retweeted a tweet by Rahul Gandhi. The ANI article was published at 1:05 PM and was tweeted by the Twitter account ani_digital at 1:12 PM. Soon, various main stream media organisations picked up ANI’s article and the Congress and Rahul Gandhi were mocked at all day for allegedly using these suspicious accounts to boost their popularity.

ANI article headline

All the 10 Twitter accounts that were listed in the ANI article have been suspended now. The 10 Twitter accounts were charlot34583589, pkbjdasjyesc557, lawannapuchajd9, yrlkamcsmc1507, madelenegonza14, cherilynzagors6, alinevyverberg2, berniecebenson6, lynettacrabtre7 and bernierogers121.

Two tweets at 1:28 pm on October 21st were the first ones to use the #RahulWaveInKazakh hashtag with one of the tweets being that of BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya, other one posted from a Twitter account called Dr Parag. This is where things get interesting. As we stated earlier, ANI’s article was published at 1:05 pm and was first tweeted at 1:12 pm. Let’s look at some of Amit Malviya’s tweets now.

Amit Malviya Olinda O'brien

In the above tweet, along with the link to ANI’s story, Amit Malviya has put out a screenshot of pkbjdasjyesc557‘s account which is one of the 10 accounts listed in ANI’s article. One can see that the service provider of the phone that was utilised to capture the screenshot is “Vodafone IN”. That means that the screenshot was taken from some place in India while being connected to Vodafone’s India network. The time zone of the phone would thus be Indian Standard Time (IST). Amit Malviya’s tweet was posted at 1:28 pm, ANI’s article has a timestamp of 1:05 pm, but strangely, this screenshot was taken at 10:38. Which means that this screenshot was either taken at 10:38 am on that day or at 10:30 AM/PM on the days prior to October 21st. Either way, the screenshot was taken many hours before ANI published its article.

Let’s look at another tweet posted by Amit Malviya with the same hashtag.

amit malviya SS

This time it is the screenshot of yet another account listed in ANI story – cherilynzagors6. Again, based on the timestamp shown in the screenshot posted by Amit Malviya, this screenshot was taken at 11:08, many hours before the ANI article.

Let’s look at a third screenshot posted by Amit Malviya while tweeting with the hashtag #RahulWaveinKazakh.

amit malviya tweet

If one zooms into this image, the timestamp of the tweet is either 11:05 or 11:06. Again, the account in question madelenegonza14, features in the ANI story which is published much later.

This pattern of the screenshots being taken at a time earlier than the time when ANI story was published is not limited to these three accounts. We also came across a BJP social media volunteer Yogesh Malik who had shared a Google Doc with a long list of tweets and screenshots that members of BJP IT Cell could copy/paste. Yogesh Malik frequently shares these documents and was also part of the story by Alt News on BJP’s #DemonetisationSuccess trend.

Hashtag: *#RahulWaveInKazakh* Time: *Now Onwards* Recently, Rahul Gandhi is in the news for a social media resurgence. Numerous articles have been written about how a new strategy is being adopted in order to cover the lost ground on social media. Some of Rahul Gandhi’s tweets are getting a disproportionate no of retweets as compared to his past trajectory. This posed a natural question as to whether this a totally organic spurt or something else? Investigation of the accounts retweeting Rahul Gandhi’s tweets showed up interesting results. It was found that people (or bots) from Russia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia are actively retweeting his tweets. Incidentally, all these handles either tweet similar random stuff from across the world or tweet only about Rahul Gandhi. Most of these accounts have less than 10 followers and only a few tweets. This is a typical characteristic of bots. Whenever for a campaign (political or not), a spurt in apparent engagement is required, we see such bots being deployed to please the masters. So what was found behind Rahul’s spike in retweets is straight from the textbook of paid social media promotion.

The link to the Google doc is as follows:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-sgtBuviczpWm3CwtbluDP-vbnKi3nW6E3zft15IAxg/edit

We have also made a backup of this document in case the original one is withdrawn.

This document not only has the screenshots that Amit Malviya posted but has screenshots of other Twitter accounts that were part of the ANI story. All the screenshots seem to have been captured from the same phone as indicated by the constantly decreasing battery power percentage of the phone.

The screenshot for the account charlot34583589 that was featured in the ANI story was taken at 10:28.

The earliest screenshot at 10:18 was of the account lawannapuchajd9 which is again a part of ANI’s investigation which was published much later at 1:05 pm.

screenshot lawannapuchajd9

The Google doc has screenshots of each one of the 10 accounts that ANI ‘exposed’ and for every screenshot, the timestamp in the document circulated by BJP IT Cell is many hours before ANI article. Did BJP IT Cell have prior knowledge of the contents of ANI’s article?

The ANI article also skips over certain important facts. At least one of the accounts that retweeted Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter account also retweeted the tweets of BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh who is the Member of Parliament from West Delhi.

Retweeted Parvesh Sahib Singh

In ANI’s article, it is stated that “The tweet quickly reached 20,000 retweets” while referring to Rahul Gandhi’s tweet. However, 5 out of the 10 accounts that retweeted Rahul Gandhi’s tweet were created the day after his tweet and thus couldn’t have contributed to Rahul Gandhi’s tweet ‘quickly reaching 20,000 tweets’. Again, this is something which ANI’s article fails to mention. Rahul Gandhi’s tweet is dated 15th October while these accounts were created on 16th October.

Another fact that ANI fails to mention is that each one of these 10 accounts had tweeted exactly 1 tweet of Rahul Gandhi. If these bots were indeed hired, it is strange that they haven’t retweeted any other tweets of Rahul Gandhi other than the one highlighted by ANI. That particular tweet received a total of 52,291 retweets+likes. Which would mean that ANI’s article was based on 0.02% of the reactions that exactly one tweet of Rahul Gandhi received. With a sample size of merely 0.02%, on what basis does ANI claim that this has lead to ‘increased popularity’? A claim like that could be made if one can show at least a reasonable bump in retweets+likes for every single tweet. Does ANI have the data to backup their claim?

If you like our stories, do follow Alt News on Facebook.

ANI has much to explain regarding the shoddy research that has gone into their article. But the far more serious issue is BJP IT Cell tweeting screenshots of the 10 accounts that ANI featured in their article with timestamps of each of the screenshots being many hours before ANI published their article. How did BJP IT cell know that ANI was going to feature those selected Twitter accounts in their article?

Donate to Alt News!
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people start contributing towards the same. Please consider donating towards this endeavour to fight fake news and misinformation.

To make an instant donation, click on the "Donate Now" button above. For information regarding donation via Bank Transfer/Cheque/DD, click here.
You could follow Alt News posts either via our Facebook page or by following us on Twitter or by subscribing to our E-mail updates.


Leave a Reply

33 Comments on "Did BJP IT cell have prior knowledge about ANI’s story on Rahul Gandhi and Twitter Bots?"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Janiye Rahman Khan
Guest

Wonderful analysis Pratik. Well done.

Habibur Rahman Khan
Guest

Keep exposing the fake news.

Adnan
Guest

I think the BJP IT cell has planted people in ANI to write what they want. This the second time this is happening at ANI as exposed by Alt News in a week. After reading this expose I think the article was a part of a slander campaign by the IT cell. Time for ANI to investigate, come clean and do some serious house cleaning.

Shashi Reddy
Guest

wow what a meticulous research and expose of ANI article. Looks like BJP IT cell shares same building with ANI. I mean what else can explain this? I want to see Amit Malviyas face when he reads this

Anwar
Guest

Wow! Clinical! So we know who behnd the ANI article!! These goons are dangerous!

Akhtar
Guest

Bow to Sir,
The way you dug this …. highly appreciable.
Keep it up.

Jaysai
Guest

BJP is completely hassled by the increased popularity of Rahul Gandhi. Shame of BJP IT Cell…. anyway, now the public in general knows how BJP works and they don’t care for BJP or their leaders and they don’t trust their lies anymore.

Goutam Pathak
Guest

Jo gadhha Rahul Gandhi ke lie kholatha BJP IT cell ne ANI ko use karke ab usime gir gaya. The truth comes out. Jai altnews, jai bharat

Jai
Guest

It seems that BJP IT cell created a few bot accounts, used this accounts to re-tweet Rahul Gandhi’s tweet and planted this news in ANI. Whole event was part of a master plan.

Indian
Guest

Sahi pakde hain bhaiyya

Savita
Guest

Great article Pratik, however these people keep getting away with lies. Do you have any plans to probably share these news articles in Hindi as well and in multiple channels (not just restricted to this website) so that the truth reaches a greater audience. I used to see your posts on LinkedIn but it is no longer available. While we might lack resources to distribute it over Whatsapp etc.., it would be great if you could continue publishing these articles (atleast the ones that expose the character of the current ruling dispensation) on multiple networking platforms.

Rakesh Agrawal
Guest

I’ve to doubt that it knew about this ANI story as it is determined to destroy all pillars of democracy and establish its brand of nationalism and all must follow, This wonderful analysis by you has just once again re-established it.

Tushar
Guest

Excellent analysis .. very well done ..

Clytom
Guest

Superlative analysis. Just goes to show the deep nexus between the media and the establishment. I will be skeptical henceforth of consuming ANI news

Radha
Guest

Good

Bjp
Guest

100cr ka defamation case hoga ab

Raj Baral
Guest

Nothing impossible for BJP IT cell, they are just beyond the imagination. I am very much assured that if they will do little more hard work with the help of ANI then Mr. Na Mo can become the next President of America. Good luck Modi Ji.

Thanks Pratik Sir, you are doing a remarkable job and every Indian who believe in deomocratic India, stand with you.

Kapasi
Guest

Maybe bjp it cell created the ten account and pass it to ANI to published the article. Since they were created a day after news hit that RG retweets had increase.

TruthDoesn\'tDie
Guest

Yaar u guys should be in police investigation team… may be that can lead to better investigation in our police dept

sonu
Guest

police know every thing but they act according to ruling party

Mohit
Guest

Haha paid article by sinhajee, when his political masters were caught. Retweet from Russia clearly shows Russia is trying to influence Indian election by spreading fake news against BJP, the way they did in USA. This is really serious. Indian voters should remain cautious.

Mohandas
Guest

Sinha is anti-BJP. therefore he is spreading lies beneficial to congress. The best thing is ignore him

Bikram Singh A
Guest

Is Rahul a Russian spy ?

Shaturya
Guest

Wonderful..well done… Where are those TV channels who discussed the retweet theory..? They should also discuss the above wonderments of BJP IT Cell knowing them beforehand …ANI and BJP IT Cell seems to be working together…Further bots retweeting just one tweet of RG and all TV channels mocking RG..Shame on them…shame on the panelists also..No regards for truth..All the panelist should come online to say sorry.

Aasif Iqubal Khan
Guest

Going by your analysis it seems these Bots were either BJP IT Cell’s creation or were bought by BJP IT Cell itself so that it can be used for a So Called Expose.

cheechee
Guest

ha ha ha … despo congis.
dirty tricks are dirty by everyone.
truth is more important.
why not investigate and disprove the original allegation? were bots used in pappu’s RTs are not?

cheechee
Guest

why ‘?’ in caption? not enough proof or it is just author’a imagination?
why not disprove the original allegation? validate the 20-30K RTs and then shame BJP IT cell.

cheechee
Guest

as per this blog now ANI is pro-BJP and faking news.
we did not find the same view when NDTV changed a ‘calf’ to ‘Ox’ and then ‘buffalo’
or when PTI spread fake images of Guj floods or deliberately misreporting Defense minister.

sonu
Guest

GOOD JOB

cheechee
Guest

Barkha exposes NDTV and AltNews has no opinion on ‘fake’ liberal press?

Alex J. D\'Mello
Guest

Thank you Pratik, you are really an investigator far excellence

cheechee
Guest

All Right thinking Left media misreported SC judgement on National Anthem.
AltNews busy nitpicking some obscure BJP fan(atic)

Bharat Sharma
Guest

Actually this news was created by BJP IT Cell a day prior and they used their men in ANI to publish it… They cultivated a propaganda and some fake accounts than retweeted RG just to tarnish him as usual… It was done to counter new found traction for RG in recent times… Another interesting fact is that As per latest audit report from Twitter itself only 36 percent followers on Modi account are real or in other words 64 percent fake accounts

wpDiscuz