Union Ministry of Culture recognizes separate budget to fund troll farms
Published: Updated – 9:05 PM, Fri – 9 Sep 22
Hyderabad: In an embarrassing misstep, the union’s culture ministry unknowingly admitted that the Center pays for its initiatives to be broadcast on the micro-blogging network Twitter, for which there also appears to be a separate budget.
This, which is a clear violation of Twitter’s “Platform Manipulation and Spam Policy” (https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/platform-manipulation), was revealed in a Request for Proposals (RFP) to undertake publicity and media work during Hyderabad Liberation Day between 15th and 17th September issued by the Director of the Center for Cultural Resources and Training ( CCRT), Ministry of Culture, which reports to Union Minister of Tourism and Culture, G Kishan Reddy.
The RFP lists “Trending Twitter September 17 starting at 8:30 a.m.” in the scope of work for agencies that will handle ads for the event.
On Friday, Telangana Digital Media director Konatham Dileep took to Twitter and tagged Kishan Reddy to highlight the issue.
“How low is Kishan Reddy garu? CCTI Director’s Tender for Telangana Liberation Day Celebrations has put “Twitter Trending” in the scope of work! So, these days the Indian government also officially launches Twitter trends? he tweeted.
The inclusion of Twitter trends is also a clear indication that efforts to ensure that a topic is trending on Twitter, to influence the behavior of Twitter users, have become a thing now!
Interestingly, CCRTI is also betting big on various other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to promote Hyderabad Liberation Day under Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
As part of the work, the cultural institution specifically mentions that agencies should promote Hyderabad Liberation Day on all social media platforms and buy ads on Facebook and Instagram.
Other than that, CCRIT has also specifically mentioned Sardar Patel cutouts that will be placed across the city.
Inadvertently, the RFP also foregoes the strategy of employing social media influencers to ensure a trending topic on these platforms. In its scope of work, CCRIT says promotions will be supported by regional social media influencers, which will be available on Facebook and YouTube live channels.
While promotions are allowed, paying to get a trending initiative on Twitter is arguably against its policy on “platform manipulation and anti-spam policy,” which under the subheading “ Hashtags “indicates” the use of a trending or popular hashtag with the intent to subvert or manipulate a conversation or to drive traffic or bring attention to accounts, websites, products, services, or services. initiatives” and “Tweeting with excessive and unrelated hashtags in a single Tweet or across multiple Tweets” is a violation.
— Konatham Dileep (@KonathamDileep) September 9, 2022