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A supporter of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wearing a mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi checks his mobile phone as he attends an election campaign rally being addressed by Modi in Meerut
Reuters/Adnan Abidi
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LEAVING IT ALL BEHIND

India’s most tech-savvy prime minister hints at quitting social media

Itika Sharma Punit
By Itika Sharma Punit

Co-editor, Quartz India

Narendra Modi, India’s most tech-savvy prime minister ever, is contemplating quitting social media.

Modi tweeted today (March 2) that he was “thinking of giving up” his accounts across social network Facebook, micro-blogging platform Twitter, photo-sharing app Instagram, and video streaming service YouTube.

He did not share any further details on what has triggered this thinking.

However, Indian social and mainstream media went into a tizzy with speculation. While some thought Modi plans to launch an indigenous social media platform, others saw a gimmick.

Modi has been the most followed Indian across several social media platforms for many years now.

In May 2019, he became the second-most followed politician on social media platforms globally with an audience of nearly 111 million across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, according to a study by the Boston-based online visibility management and marketing analytics firm SEMrush.

As of 9:45 pm today (March 02), Modi had over 53 million followers on Twitter, over 44 million on Facebook, and over 35 million on Instagram.

He is known to not hold press conferences and, hence, avoid answering queries. Instead, his social media presence and his monthly radio talk, Mann ki Baat, are viewed as part of his strategy to keep communication with the public strictly one-way.

He has often been accused of giving his tacit support to the worst kinds of social media users, particularly on Twitter, who issue threats of rape and violence against others.

The reaction to his announcement was as divisive as ever, ranging from “good riddance” to “no sir.” Minutes after his tweet, #NoSir was trending on the micro-blogging portal with Indians requesting him to not take the step.

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