We studied the Twitter behavior of the spyware-targeted journalists in India to see which way they lean. No surprises, most lean anti-Government but a few on the pro-Gov side as well.

This document confirms that through data.

Three other trends.
Several journalists targeted cover security, domestic & int'l or diplomacy incl @saikatd @rahulsinghx @DevirupaM @JhaPremshankar @SushantSin @SandeepUnnithan @vijaita @Smita_Sharma

Inordinate no of Kashmir/Punjab journos. Overall most targeted are from @thewire_in and @htTweets
Targeting shows that muckracking is alive and still perceived a threat, while talking heads are just that.

Most targeted persons are journalists on the ground or editors, none of the anchors, incl high-profile ones are targeted.

Some anchors spoke up for the govt.
We also see a pattern like the @Rihanna / Farmer Protests, when anti-Government tweeting is followed next day by supporters presenting alt theories incl (1) "foreign hand" & (2) "blown out of proportion"

Zee News trended foreign hand, OpIndia claimed Soros conspiracy
In this case, unlike others, there is a break from within the party, although by @Swamy39 calling @narendramodi to answer for the spying allegations.

Link to the full report here:

👏 @Shehla_Rashid @DibyenduMishra

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More from @joyopal

1 Jun
I went to the US mainly to exploit a student visa & jump to a job at the first opp. I failed, ended up doing a PhD with no academic interest, mainly to dodge deportation.

Eventually I became a college professor, then quit to become a lanyard-wearing Bangalore techie

Look at study abroad as bigger than the money you spend for it. It's an incredible privilege to have that resource. But you're not paying for the degree - you are paying for the places, people, worldviews, cultures you experience.
If you go to the US as a foreign student, the odds are, the degree alone won't get you a work permit, except for a small number of degrees, and institutions.

But if you got a short-term job, say 1-3 years on your allowed academic visa, you'll earn back a good chunk of the loan.
Read 5 tweets
28 May
As @Twitter & @WhatsApp tussle with India continues, we examined tweets on #CongressToolkit to understand the trigger event.

We find systematic tweeting, involving several key leaders. Fun find, while @sambitswaraj was center of controversy, his wasn't the firestarter

On May 18, tweeting #CongressToolkit started systematically before dawn. In first 10 hrs 65 tweets from BJP leaders w/ over 500k followers had circulated, over 1000 influencers w/over 5k followers had amplified the message.

Twitter handles with 15k or more followers were key to amplifying the message, this is a tactic seen across other online campaigns. Several of these handles are extremely influential.

Of the 10 most active in promoting #CongressToolkit ALL were followed by @narendramodi
Read 5 tweets
26 May
We studied online misinformation in India during the second wave of the COVID crisis. We find a dramatic rise of 'utilitarian' misinformation, purporting to 'deal with' the issue, compared with blame-oriented misinformation, purporting to find 'those at fault' in 2020.

(1/6) Image
A rise in misinformation about traditional cures, anti-vaccine propaganda, plasma, and oxygen. Such stories corner concerns about technology-enabled surveillance, vaccine-related uncertainty, institutional failure. Interestingly, influencers play big role in spread
(2/6) Image
We see themes of anti-vaccine misinformation from elsewhere in the world repeated here. While @BillGates is frequently target of such misinformation on a/c of his foundation's work, now misinfo about microchips from Microsoft injected into vaccines are now doing rounds.

Read 6 tweets
12 Mar
We traced the social media following of Indian politicians between December 2020 and March 2021 to see who gained and lost followers and engagement. Lots happened - farm protests, violence, elections.

The grand winner is @MahuaMoitra

Other results:
Yogi Adityanath consistently fastest growing politician in 1M + group, racing past @rajnathsingh @ShashiTharoor @nitin_gadkari @PiyushGoyal.

Only @narendramodi @AmitShah @ArvindKejriwal and @RahulGandhi have more followers. At this rate, Yogi will move up sooner than later Image
To check the robustness of our data, we tested who were the accounts that lost the most followers or stagnated, these include Ananth Kumar, Arun Jaitley, Pranab Mukherjee, Ahmed Patel, Ram Vilas Paswan, Manohar Parrikar – all of whom have died recently.
Read 10 tweets
11 Mar
Paper on the history of disability in Indian cinema from Jeevan Naiya (1936) to Guzaarish (2010) shows role of mythology in how films have portrayed disabled characters on screen. key themes: Disability is (a) punishment (b) curable (c) asexual (d) social maladjustment

thread: Tarachand Barjatya's Dosti (1964) has two men Ramu and Mohan
Disability as Punitive: Pran blinded in Aadmi (1968), MR Radha disfigured in Ratha Kaneer (1954). This idea derives from a mythological notion of punishment through disability, eg Amba/Ambalika's children in Mahabharata, Samba cursed with leprosy in Samba Purana MR Radha, a rude and licentious man with 'western ways' in R
Disability as curable: Films with cured blindness, disabled walking after inspirational songs etc. (Basant 1942, Kannan en Kadhalan 1968) Mythological characters cured of disablement after penance/knowledge eg Samba, sage Ashtavakra.

Moral: try hard enough, you can 'fix' it MGR cures Kanchana of disability by singing an inspirational
Read 16 tweets
17 Apr 20
We studied misinformation around COVID-19 in India since Jan 2020. Results + full archive here:


Misinformation has:
1. grown steadily, particularly after Janata Curfew
2. moved towards cultural issues

@SyedaZainabA @saumya_sagarika @Divyanshukukret 👏
Misinformation about curing COVID-19 has declined as more people have been made aware there is no cure.

So while fact-based misinformation appears to be declining, misinformation that tries to create emotional affect - cultural issues, police brutality etc. have increased.
In particular, since the Tablighi Jamaat case surfaced, the misinformation has turned significantly against Muslims as we see in this figure comparing wordclouds of tags to misinformation in three 10-day periods since mid-March.
Read 13 tweets

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