Media as pimps

The Times of India has carried a report in its Ahmedabad edition on 27th October 2012, on the number and quality of followers that Narendra Modi has on Twitter. The story is titled “Bitter Twitter truth for Narendra Modi” .

The hostility of TOI towards Modi is not new. The SIT, constituted by the Supreme Court to look into Gujarat 2002 riots, has indicted Manoj Mitta working for TOI Ahmedabad, for being in active connivance with the cottage industry out to besmirch Modi through crooked ways. Manoj Mitta, while working for TOI as a journalist, was also helping Sanjiv Bhatt draft his many false affidavits that he submitted in the Supreme Court.  Just recently, when Modi government announced a ban on tobacco products in Gujarat, TOI ran multiple page articles with detailed pictorial instructions as to how to circumvent the ban. Between the health hazards of tobacco products and supporting Modi for just one cause, they chose tobacco !

Yet, the story that TOI has published on Modi’s Twitter followers is particularly vicious. The story is ostensibly about the quality of twitter followers that Modi has and yet the story is not just that. Innuendos are thrown in the story that fake followers are bought by celebrities through some marketing agencies and that Modi might have done the same. No other celebrity and their followers are analysed in the story to even give a semblance of perspective and balance to the story. It is all about Modi and the innuendos to stick on to him and him alone. A nondescript website ( Status People ) is used as the only source to base the story on. Whether the website has any credibility, is it peer reviewed as a genuine website or some crack job – nothing is mentioned.  As long as anything that comes handy to discredit Modi.

Below is an analysis of twelve accounts using the same website (thus fairness) for some celebrity and non celebrity handles: 

  • Every account that is a celebrity has the same ratio of fakes and inactive accounts. Everyone. Be they politicians ( like Shashi Tharoor) or journalists (like Vir Sanghvi) or TV personalities (like Barkha Dutt) or movie stars (like Shah Rukh Khan).
  • Non celebrity accounts ( like mine and I have included one more – @MrsGandhi –  just to confirm ) are the ones with negligible fake followers, but even they have some some !
  • Times of India’s own Twitter account (S.No. 09) has as much fake followers as other celebrities. In fact in this aspect, Hindustan Times (S.No. 10) , the closest competitor of TOI, fares better with lesser fake followers. Should we junk TOI and go for HT then?

Considering the above, to print an exclusive article on quality of Modi’s Twitter followers is one of the reasons why the difference between the world’s oldest profession and media profession is fast dwindling.

PS: The only celebrity account that comes out with flying colors is at S.No. 12. ( This is just to ensure that I am not accused of bias while debunking the TOI story).


Updates: A slightly modified version of this blog was published on Niti Central on 27th October, 2012. Link is below:

 And what about Times of India’s ‘fake’ followers on Twitter?

10 thoughts on “Media as pimps

  1. Natraj says:

    If only their circulation numbers are dissected in the same manner we will know the real story. PIMP for me is actually an acronym for Paid Indian Media Professional.


  2. Mayank Panwar says:

    Also Sachin Tendulkar has got 62% fake, 32% inactive and 6% good accounts,

    * Kiran Bedi has 53% inactive and 33% fake accounts.,

    * Arvind Kejriwal has 45% inactive and 27% fake followers,

    * India Against Corruption (IAC)’s @Janlokpal has 53% inactive and 28% fake.

    * Amitabh Bachchan has 54% fake, 35% inactive and 11% good accounts.

    Does that mean all these people are faking their popularity? Shame on Times of India…!!!

    Surprisingly the journalist of this news ie ANKUR JAIN’s account @toi_ankurJ is itself a fake handle in twitter.. this handle was just created by ToI to publish this news and it is now deleted..!!

    Whats more hilarious is that the too itself says that it is accurate for followers less than 50,000 and Modijihas 1 minnion followers.


  3. Excellent analysis that shatters the TOI self proclamation that ONLY Namo’s is a manufactured and faked account while they themselves pretty much are fakers, if that is the tall claim TOI wanted to implicate Namo with. Nothing more than a cheap attempt by TOI to capture readership.


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