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Grab Your Keyboards: Inside Pakistan’s hashtag Mills

Title: Grab Your Keyboards: Inside Pakistan’s hashtag mills

Authors: Sheheryar Popalzai, Ramsha Jahangir

Organization/Publisher: Dawn

Affiliation: Dawn

Date/Place: December 2, 2019, Karachi, Pakistan

Type of Literature: Investigative Report

Number of Pages: 41 


Keywords: Pakistan, Twitter Trend, Social Media Campaigns, Digital Frontiers


The 21st century has brought revolutionary inventions that have great impact on our daily lives. Social media is one of those inventions that have been used by millions of people across the world. Moreover, Facebook was launched in 2004 followed by Twitter in 2006, grabbing millions of users from diverse regions. This investigative report explored the social media potential of Pakistan in perception management of the masses by analyzing Twitter trends. The authors after analyzing few hostile trends in Pakistan launched their own trend against the price hike of tomatoes i.e. #BoycottTomatoes with the help of some social media influencers. According to this report, the social media campaigns in Pakistan are run by Humans not BOTs. These humans have their accounts on twitter followed by hundreds and thousands of followers in addition to networks for strategizing the campaigns. The report cracked the method to get a place on the trend panel in a country by analyzing twitter’s AI. The AI basically monitors the number of tweets by a user, number of retweets by other users and speed of tweets in a bracket of time. Meanwhile, to restrict this organized behavior of social media accounts, twitter restricts its policies and suspended many accounts on suspicious activities including few verified accounts. According to some interviewees of this report, India is reporting the activities of Pakistani twitter accounts and as a result hundreds of accounts have recently been suspended.  According to these individuals, even though their social media activity has decreased by fifty percent, it is part of their duty to safeguard the digital frontiers of Pakistan from any hostile attacks.

By: Muhammad Taimoor Bin Tanveer, CIGA Research Associate



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