On September 23, 2021, violence broke out in Assam’s Darrang district after the long announced evictions finally started to take place. The evictions were announced by the Assam government for those who had been illegally encroaching the areas of the state. However, while the evictions were taking place by Assam police, violent clashes took place at Sipjhar leading to the deaths of at least 2 people and the circulation of a violent video showing policemen and a photographer desecrating the dead body of a migrant.
The video in particular caused worldwide outrage on the matter. Even though the guilty party was later charged, the conditions of the migrants coupled with the ongoing qualms against CAA and NRC further exacerbated the outrage. The whole incident was seen with a communal tone by not just people in India but countries in the Middle-East that saw this as an attack on Muslims. To express their outrage, they sought to boycott India products or at least on social media.
With this, we lead to an analysis of the hashtags that arose after this conflict namely – #BoycottIndianProducts, #हिंदू_मुसलमानों_को_मारते_हैं, #भारतीय_उत्पादों_का_बहिष्कार_करें, #indianmuslimsunderattack, مقاطعة_المنتجات_الهندية. These were the hashtags that were primarily used together.
- A total of 150 verified users participated in these hashtags.
- Hashtags on Dubai namely boycott_expo_2020_dubai, اكسبو_2020_دبي and on Sri Lanka : boycottsrilanka, مقاطعة_سيرلنكا were running parallel to the hashtags on India
- The top users who used these hashtags the most are abdelra33788332, emanqudah97 followed by conflagration27. They collectively used the hashtag upwards of 3000 times.
- The data shows that maximum number of users were from Pakistan who got involved with the hashtags followed by Saudi Arabia on the second position.
- With the total of 25,210 accounts who interacted with the hashtags, 3,585 accounts got deleted or suspended after the hashtags peaked.
Verfied users who used the hashtag
Accounts who tweeted or replied the most
Users having most retweets and likes
WordCloud of English Tweets
In order to understand what was being said in the tweets, it is important to create word clouds. Here is word cloud of the tweets written in English.
The top hashtags used were #مقاطعة_المنتجات_الهندية (#boycottindianproducts) #الهند_تقتل_المسلمين ( India is killing muslims) & #indianmuslimsunderattack, with thousands of tweets each.
Common Data Analysis of all boycott hashtags of India, Dubai and Sri Lanka
With our analysis we were able to find out that there were a lot of common users who commented on the hashtags used for all three countries. Below is a list of accounts that posted about all three places.
- Common users who posted on these hashtags:
- World Map:
Below is an interactive map that shows us where the hashtags were being used the most. The data shows that maximum number of users were from Pakistan who got involved with the hashtags followed by Saudi Arabia on the second position.
- Users who deleted or suspended their account:
With the total of 25,210 accounts who interacted with the hashtags, 3,585 accounts got deleted or suspended after the hashtags peaked.
- All accounts creation timeline:
Below graph shows the number of accounts created over time who got involved with the hashtags.
- Tweets and replies timeline:
Below is a timeline of the tweets and replies of the hashtags. As we can see, the tweets peaked in October.
The graph however differs in the case of Dubai as the hashtags associated with it have been in use periodically all year.
The hashtags used on Sri Lanka peaked in April 2021.
- Network graph
Here is an expansive network graph of all the users that were involved in this hashtag. As you can see, most users are connected to each other in one way or another.
As we can see from the graphs, the users who participated in these hashtags are in one way or another connected to others who have participated in the hashtags. Another thing to note is that there has been a large number of users who participated in all the hashtags of the three countries. This is evidence of orchestration meaning that the hashtags were made viral with a planned effort rather than just organic users tweeting within the hashtags. The planned effort is very visible from some of the graphs mentioned above.
The hashtags also used massive amounts of misleading claims and fake information to substantiate their claims. We have fact-checked some of those and you can read the report here.
The data also indicates that the maximum number of tweets were made from Pakistani accounts as opposed to other countries. Eventually, the hashtags did not really lead anywhere as India still continues to be one of the biggest trading partners of the Middle East and Indian products were never taken off the shelves in any of these countries.