New Delhi: Social media, particularly microblogging site Twitter, is now being seen as a potent political tool, which not only promises a wider engagement with the electorate but is also considered an effective platform to air one’s views. However, it’s not without its set of risks.
Former Indian diplomat-turned-politician Mani Shankar Aiyar was recently caught on a sticky wicket when a parody account put out tweets under his name and picture.
This prompted Aiyar, a senior Congress leader and former Union minister, to put out a clarification on Sunday that the account does not belong to him and that he did not have an account on the microblogging website.
“Somebody has opened a ‘parody account’ on Twitter in my name and attributed to me a remark I never made,” Aiyar said in a statement, according to Press Trust of India. “As some of the respondents to the remark appear not to have understood that it was from a ‘parody account’, this is to clarify that I do not have a Twitter account and have never had one,” he added.
This is not the first time that Aiyar has made the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Six months ahead of the general elections in 2014, Aiyar kicked off a major political controversy by mocking now Prime Minister Narendra Modi and saying that Modi could never reach the top post and could instead sell tea at the national meeting of the Congress party which was happening then. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) immediately condemned the statement, the remark was used by the party to project a “common man” image of Modi.
Several public figures, particularly politicians, often face the problem of fake, parody or impersonating accounts. To deal with this, Twitter verifies accounts, signified with a blue tick mark, which simply means that an authentic user has approached the website for verifying its account.
With Aiyar’s clarification, however, those following the parody account may well know that it’s not him. Or may be it could prompt him to debut on Twitter and get his account verified.