Twitter polls are a double edged sword. National Herald is learning it the hard way after two of it’s polls on PNB scam backfired. After the news of USD 1.77 billion Punjab National Bank Scam broke out, National Herald posted two Twitter polls to gauge the opinion of its readers. “Do you think corruption has vastly decreased in India, as Prime Minister Modi claims?” asked the first poll. This was followed after five hours by a second one asking who is to blame for the massive PNB Scam.
The polls did not go as per National Herald ’s expectations. As large number of BJP supporters started to vote, suspecting sabotage and distortion of results, the Twitter handle of National Herald started blocking users.
— Manoj Goenka 🇮🇳 (@iam_manojgoenka) February 15, 2018
by Congress' mouthpiece @nh_india for exposing their hypocrisy on corruption in just 1 tweet flat.
— I.B.T.L (@IndiaBTL) February 15, 2018
After 81% votes blamed UPA for the PNB Scam, National Herald deleted the poll. It had over 11,000 votes when it was deleted on the evening of February 15th. The second poll asking about decrease in corruption under PM Modi was deleted the next day morning. It had over 14,000 votes of which 83% favored BJP.
Interestingly earlier polls of National Herald have not seen so much participation. Its polls on the budget received less than 600 votes.
There was perhaps a case of large scale organized voting as seen from the fact that the first poll was only retweeted 17 times but received over 14,000 votes. But then all is considered fair in polls on an open platform. This possibility should have been considered before launching the polls. As they say, fools rush in where angels fear to tread…
Before venturing into Twitter polls one should be aware of the risks and willing to accept the results, whichever way they turn out. National Herald failed on both counts. Before launching Twitter polls again, National Herald must build a better understanding of its Twitter support base and the dynamics of social media based opinion polls. And if it cannot accept the results irrespective of the way they turn out due to its political leanings, it would be better to stay away from social media polls.
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