There is no doubt that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is the first political party in the country to be ahead of other parties in conveying its message through social media not only to Pakistan but also to thousands of Pakistanis living abroad. Maybe that’s why many people have sarcastically called it a ‘social media party’. When it comes to trends, most analysts agree that PTI has no competition. I have often heard people jokingly say, “If Pakistan’s elections are held on social media, the PTI will surely win.”
Following the success of the no-confidence motion against former Prime Minister Imran Khan and the appointment of Shahbaz Sharif as the new Prime Minister this month, the PTI started the trend of #imported_government_approved with over 60 million tweets so far, according to PTI. Have been done.
The trend is still number one on Twitter, with over 3.4 million tweets used in the last 24 hours. And the hard work of these users has not been in vain, PTI Chairman and former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, addressing a rally in Karachi, thanked these social media workers and ‘Keyboard Warriors’ and said, Greetings to you that the trend of #imported_government_approved is still at the top of the world.
However, addressing a press conference on Monday, PML-N spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb claimed that robots were behind the trends created on Twitter. Explaining how tweets are being sent from robotic accounts, he said, “These robotic tweets are generated through software and the people of Pakistan are being misled by making false statements, hatred in the country.”
And the chaos is being spread, the truth of this imported statement has come to us. Using the hashta(#Imported_Government_NoMantor), he said about the alleged fake trend that tweets are being sent from 924 handles of which only 177 are real people and only 33 are real accounts.
He claimed that 75% of the unauthorized traffic coming from these 924 accounts is behind 532 bots. Apparently something went wrong with Maryam Aurangzeb. He shared this analysis and wrote wrong hashtags in both tweets. You will also be familiar with the mood of other Twitter users. Think about what happened.
It so happened that the hashtag with which Maryam Aurangzeb tweeted has ‘Mantoor’ written in it while the hashtag run by PTI has the word ‘Manzoor’ in it. One user shared an edited video of the most advanced robot Emeka ever, in which when the robot is asked what’s going on in his brain, he further replies, “Imported government disapproved.”
In one photo, a robot wrench is seen carrying a sign that reads, “Isn’t the trend loose from somewhere?” Most of the users were seen sharing their Salafis saying, “Look, I am a boot” while one of them tagged Maryam Aurangzeb and said, “Look, I have found these robots and they are like Rajinikanth.”
Another user wrote, “Family members say stop eating and drinking from today, bots don’t eat food.” After Maryam Aurangzeb’s press conference, many people tried to tell her that your team has wasted its time by analyzing the wrong hashtag, while some people have also claimed that this wrong hashtag is PML-N.
Started by Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Digital Media Arsalan Khalid rejected Maryam Aurangzeb’s claim, claiming that “Maryam Aurangzeb’s own team and her own people started the wrong hashtag so that our organic hash Let the tag go down. ‘ Before we get into the debate over who is claiming the truth, it is important to know what a Twitter boot is, how it works, and how to identify unauthorized activity in a trend.
What is a boot?
A Twitter bot is usually an account that performs some form of automated behavior. In addition to tweeting, a Twitter bot can do things like retweet, like, follow, unfollow, DM, interact with other users. Such an account may be controlled or operated by a small piece of software, or an individual may use this account to disseminate certain content.
According to Asad Baig, in such a case, they would like to call it ‘human boot’ because the account has ‘boot-like features’ but also the process of ‘human intervention’. He says that unlike traditional bots, there is a culture of human bots in Pakistan’s Twitter space.
How to identify a boot?
There is more than one way to identify a boot. Some online platforms have developed their own algorithms based on these natural or unnatural activity to identify bots. Unnatural activity involves too many tweets a day, or a particular pattern, such as mass retweeting. Assad says that basically it is very easy to analyze one or more accounts and based on their activity you can tell if they have bot-like features or not.
There are different ways to do this. Assad says he developed an assessment or diagnostic framework called ‘Trends Monitor’ in 2018 to identify unauthorized traffic in political hashtags on Twitter. But there are many other ways to identify unauthorized activity in a hashtag.
But the important thing is that it is possible to identify unauthorized traffic. Rizwan Saeed keeps a close eye on hashtags. He told the graph that Maryam Aurangzeb shared in her tweet did not say what parameters were used to create the graph or what is being shown in it. He says the timing and duration of data collection is important in hashtag analysis.
A reasonable sample of data can indicate unauthorized activity. He says that based on 7-8 features, any hashtag can be found to be organic and un-organic. For example, the rate of retweets, the number of rare users and the relationship between the most active users. If there is a strong link between the key handles that promote the hashtag, the ratio of retweets and average tweets per handle is higher then this indicates inorganic activity.
Regarding the trend initiated by PTI and Maryam Aurangzeb’s claim, Asad said that he had seen the tweet, “I think his claim is very basic, to say the least.” “Investigating statistics is a whole science,” he says. One cannot simply conclude, using such a small sample size or one of the thousands of algorithms available on online platforms, that such and such a political hashtag is fake.
According to Asad Baig, you can’t form a definitive opinion about hashtag traffic. This includes organic, promotional, opportunistic, promotional, resistance, and unauthorized traffic. You can identify unauthorized activity in any political or non-political hashtag using various means. “I’ve got a lot of unauthorized traffic in all the political hashtags (including the trend of imported government) these days, but to say that the whole hashtag is ‘fake’ is probably not true,” he said.
Did Maryam Aurangzeb’s team analyze the wrong hashtag?
In his opinion, did Maryam Aurangzeb’s team analyze the wrong hashtag? But he says, “It doesn’t matter because this is not a cricket match for the one who has the most tweets to win, especially when there are only 3.4 million Pakistani accounts on Twitter ” A very small segment of the Pakistani population is represented on this platform. “The real question is whether it comes from either side, but when the hatred and violence on Twitter and other digital platforms (like Tik Tuk) comes out of these platforms and into our lives, then we (as What will the nation do?
Assad asks, “Where will all this stop?” What is our responsibility? What is the responsibility of our political leaders? Is it right to incite hatred or violence in any way? These are the questions that Maryam Aurangzeb and everyone involved in Pakistani politics should ask. Political talk on social media is getting worse these days, is it because Pakistan’s political parties (from enticing voters to proving their rhetoric) have waged their war on social media?
Asad Baig says that “political discourse is very distorted, there is an atmosphere of intolerance and personal attacks are being made on each other.” He says that what we see on social media platforms today is ours. Reflects the society and obviously it is not limited to social media. “Anonymous digital platforms have made it easier to incite violence and hatred.”
He believes that our problem today is not social media but growing polarization and hatred in society. If social media does not disappear today, then society will find another way to increase this hatred. Assad believes we need to address the underlying problem.
Citing a tweet deleted by Maryam Nawaz, Arsalan Khalid said, “It contained accounts of people belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League who are known to be members of her party.”
Maybe that’s why Maryam Nawaz deleted the tweet when she realized the mistake. Arsalan Khalid says: “The best thing about digital is that no one can lie, get anyone to analyze PTI hashtags, or use software that is available on the internet. One can see that this is an organic trend.
He says that Maryam Aurangzeb herself has stated that she has analyzed the wrong hashtag but she admits that her own leaders from Faisal Javed and Shirin Mazari to Zulfi Bukhari mistakenly approved Used hashtags but still tops the list of disapproval on Twitter and has received 2.86 million tweets in the last 24 hours. Arsalan Khalid claims that more than 60 million tweets have been made in this trend in the last 10 days and all these people are ordinary users who have not stopped tweeting but are constantly tweeting.
It may be recalled that in February this year, after a program of journalist Gharida Farooqi, he was targeted for trolling by PTI accounts and even trends were launched against him in which federal ministers were also present. some members of the federal cabinet in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and advisers and aides to Prime Minister Imran Khan He was severely criticized for taking a certain part and was subjected to trolling.
In response to the question that trends that help political parties advance their rhetoric, the accounts of those who participate in them are wooed and exaggerated, but when the same accounts are shared with journalists on social media. Why do political parties disassociate themselves from abusive people and run trends against them?
Arsalan categorically denied the allegations, saying “this is an organ movement and it cannot be countered by the trend started by a few.” Maryam Aurangzeb claims that the data presented by her was obtained from Twitter.