Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one of the most followed personalities in India, said he was thinking of giving up his social media accounts. “This Sunday, thinking of giving up my social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube,” PM Modi tweeted late on Monday evening.
“Will keep you all posted,” PM Modi said.
PM Modi, who is among the most-followed political leaders in the world on Twitter, has 53.3 million followers on the social microblogging site.
He is the most followed leader on Facebook and Instagram, with 44 million following his page on Facebook and 35.2 million following him on photo and video sharing app Instagram. On YouTube, he has 4.5 million subscribers.
The prime minister did not explain the reasons that provoked him to consider quitting social media but it led to a barrage of requests from his supporters to request him to revisit his stand. His political rivals jeered.
“Give up hatred, not social media accounts,” former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, echoing his party’s criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders over the recent violence in national capital Delhi.
In 30 minutes, not surprisingly, PM Modi’s tweet had evoked more replies – 13,000 replies – than (9,000) retweets.
Prime Minister Modi was one of the early national political leaders to have realised the potential of social media to reach out to people, collaborating with volunteers to spread his message during election campaigns and later.
PM Modi’s government has announced most important decisions on social media over the last five years or so and had, in the early months of the first edition of the NDA government in 2014, nudged his ministerial colleagues to embrace social media.
The election that he had swept months earlier was India’s first where political parties had also partnered with mobile and media firms to distribute tweets online and offline.
Twitter had emerged as a political tool first during the 2012 US presidential elections, and then during the Arab Spring uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.
His tweet celebrating the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in Lok Sabha polls was the most retweeted and liked tweets last year and was acknowledged as India’s ‘Golden Tweet’ of 2019.