On the morning of February 13, the handle of BJP Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan began criticising the work of the government and his party on Twitter — that "working for the middle class is low on the agenda of Modi govt."
Many wondered if the minister’s account had been hacked, but of course, it hadn't. His team was just the latest victim of tweeting exactly what they’re told to from a document, without actually reviewing its content.
“#Modi4NewIndia Working for the middle class is low on the agenda of Modi govt. Modi govt has successfully failed the mindset that the middle class lives on someone’s mercy which was nurtured by the Congress govt. (1). Today, everyone lives without dignity & contributes towards country's growth,” the Minister had tweeted, which was archived here. The tweets have since been deleted, but the damage was already done.
How does someone get a union minister to tweet something against the government? Just edit the open document which has the trend alert for the day.
Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha, in a series of tweets, demonstrated how the entire series of events played out.
In a video, he showed how he edited the public document, allegedly uploaded by the BJP IT cell. Titled ‘Trend Alert: #Modi4NewIndia’, the video shows him making minor changes to the text that alters its meaning.
How do you get a Union Minister to tweet what you want? Well, you go and edit the trending document made by BJP IT cell, and then you control what they tweet. Thread.— Pratik Sinha (@free_thinker) February 13, 2019
Here's the video of this morning when their trending document got automagically updated :-)
The text that had been edited was posted by multiple accounts, with no changes. A simple search on Twitter reveals this.
It was this edited text that Pon Radhakrishnan then tweeted, before deleting it. This was also tweeted by BJP Assam’s official Twitter handle, and was up for two hours before being deleted.