Prime Minister Narendra Modi was interviewed by Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar on Wednesday and while answering a question on whether he is active on social media, Modi replied saying that he tracks Kumar and his wife Twinkle Khanna's Twitter accounts.
Using a Twitter analysis tool and certain keywords searches, BOOM found that Modi and Khanna do not follow each other on Twitter.
Khanna, a former actor is now a newspaper columnist and is perceived to be critical of the BJP government on social media. On April 1, 2018, she wrote a blog in The Times Of India where she took potshots against the ruling BJP government and its leaders though Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not mentioned. (Read about it hereand here)
From the interview:
Akshay Kumar: In this age of social media, and I have seen that you are quite active on social media, but what questions people raise and what they talk, do you see on Twitter and Instagram, do you see all this Sir? (यह जो सोशल मीडिया का तो पूरा जमाना है, एंड मैंने देखा आप काफी एक्टिव रहते हो, लेकिन जो लोग आपको प्रश्न पूछते हैं या लोग आपसे बात करते हैं या खुद आप देखते हो ट्विटर या इंस्टाग्राम, ऐप सारी यह चीजें देखते हो सर?)
Narendra Modi: I keep tabs on social media to know what is happening in the world. I also keep an eye on your and Twinkle Khanna ji's Twitter account. The way she vents her anger against me, your family life must be quite peaceful. She would take out all the anger against me. You must be at peace. In a way, I feel I have helped you, especially in Twinkle ji's case (मैं जरूर देखता हूं और एक प्रकार से उससे मुझे बाहर की बहुत प्रकार की जानकारी मिलती है, और मैं आपका भी ट्विटर देखता हूं और ट्विंकल खन्ना जी का भी ट्विटर देखता हूं और कभी-कभी तो मुझे लगता है कि वह जो मेरे पर गुस्सा निकालती है ट्विटर पर तो उसके कारण आप के पारिवारिक जीवन में बड़ी शांति रहती होगी, पूरा गुस्सा मेरे पर निकल जाता होगा इसलिए आपको बड़ा आराम और सुकून मिलता होगा, मैं आपको इस प्रकार से काम आया हूं खास करके ट्विंकल जी के लिए.....)
On Twitter, in order to see what a user tweets, one has to either follow the other user's account or has to be tagged with their handle name by the user in their tweet.
Besides this, if one wants to see another account's tweets, one has to manually go on their timeline and check. Alternatively, one can also spot their tweets if retweeted or liked by the accounts one follows or if they have added them to a Twitter list.
Using TweetBeaver, a Twitter analytics tool. BOOM found that neither Modi (@narendramodi) or Khanna (@mrsfunnybones) follow each other on Twitter.
Additionally, we checked if Prime Minster's official handle (@PMOIndia) and Narendra Modi's website's handle (@narendramodi_in) follow Khanna (@mrsfunnybones) and found that both the accounts don't follow Khanna and neither does she follow them.
Do they tag each other on Twitter?
Using the Twitter search keywords - 'from:mrsfunnybones @narendramodi', to inquire if a user has tagged another user, BOOM found that Khanna had tagged Modi (@narendramodi) only once back on March 8, 2016 and has not tagged @PMOIndia at all.
Khanna had tagged Modi in a reply to a Twitter user named 'Ajay Agarwal' who had quote tweeted her.
Click here to view archive.
A Twitter search for Modi (@narendramodi), @narendramodi_in and
@PMOIndia tagging Khanna yielded no results.
Have they named each other on Twitter?
BOOM found that Khanna had referred to 'Modi' eight times in her tweets. The last time was on January 29, 2019, and the first time was on November 4, 2014. (Click here to view)
Khanna has used the word 'Prime Minister' three times in her tweets and most recently after the interview was aired. (Click here to view)
Using the Twitter keyword search, we did not find Modi (@narendramodi), @narendramodi_in and @PMOIndia naming 'Twinkle Khanna' on Twitter. (Click here to view)
According to a Right To Information (RTI) reply reported by Business Standard on December 19, 2015, the PMO said Modi himself manages his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts. But when it comes to the PM's official social media accounts, his office says those are managed by the PMO.
It is unclear why PM Modi chose to say that Khanna was 'venting her anger against him'. None of the tweets analysed by BOOM seem to suggest so. At best, Twinkle Khanna known for her sense of humour only seems to have mentioned the prime minister in some of her tweets without being critical of him.
PM Modi has a following of around 46.9 million and follows 2,153 accounts on Twitter including Kumar who also follows him back. Similarly, Khanna has a following of around 5.2 million and follows 83 accounts on Twitter.