In what has perhaps come as a big blow to The Logical Indian’s claims of being ‘independent’, ‘centrist’ and ‘apolitical’, Facebook recently rolled out a feature specifically for pages wherein a section named ‘Info and Ads‘ has been added. This section enables users to gather information about the active ads run by a page, and also if the name of the page has ever been changed. Within minutes of this new feature coming about, some users were surprised to find that The Logical Indian, the famous ‘neutral’ Facebook page was previously known as ‘Arvind Kejriwal- The Next Prime Minister of India’.
Here is how the section on the page looks like:
This is how the same section looks like on The Frustrated Indian.
The (Not so humble) beginnings
In 2012-2013, The Frustrated Indian was emerging as a driving force of public opinion, especially for the centre-right leaning youth of India. Possibly taking a cue out of The Frustrated Indian’s huge success, this pro-AAP page changed its name to a similar sounding ‘The Logical Indian’.
The Logical Indian was created on December 13th, 2013. Within five months of its creation, The Logical Indian was verified by Facebook and decorated with the coveted ‘blue-tick’. Having been in this business for long, we can tell you with complete authority that this is unprecedented.
The time of creation of the page and the numbers
What also stands out is the timing of the creation of this page. Six months before the 2014 general elections and a verification by Facebook within five months of its creation makes us ask a some very ‘logical’ questions about this very ‘logical’ page:
– Did this page want to sway votes in favor of Kejriwal in the General elections 2019, under the garb of neutrality?
– Are the massive six million followers that the page has on Facebook today organically amassed?
– Driving a support page turned neutral apolitical page to such a huge following must have required some big money. Having been in this business, we are well aware of how Facebook kills the reach of big pages unless they cough up money. Did someone provide The Logical Indian with a big war-chest?
If all of this was done organically though, it could be an excellent case study. Those running big Facebook pages would surely benefit from it.
How apolitical and neutral is ‘The Logical Indian?
Claims of being apolitical and a neutral media outlet aside, The Logical Indian, many believe, has perfected the art of monkey balancing by publishing content which is by and large about social causes. However, their uneasiness with the present NDA government is not hidden. It seasonally appreciates the present government and rarely criticizes the opposition. Such a rational way of publishing content from a page that once dreamed of placing Kejriwal on the Prime Minister’s chair is quite remarkable.
A model followed by some leftist political websites in the US, namely HuffPost, Upworthy and Vice, comes to mind. These websites are designed for millenials who are largely politically ignorant. Between several articles centred mostly around social issues, environmental issues and other offbeat topics, one suddenly comes across some content portraying the Republican Party as evil. Not having much exposure to the political world, and generally trusting whatever these websites say blindly, millenials are very subtly blue-pilled (turned into leftists or supporters of the Democratic Party). From being a Kejriwal supporting page to a page which primarily focuses on non-political beats, but does insert a political article every now and then, has The Logical Indian followed a similar model?
Portals like ours are open about their political leanings. We have a set of ideas or values which we believe in, and more than reporting the news, we act as watchdogs in terms of how those ideas and values are being dealt with by various people on the ground. Our audience is aware of this, and generally follows us only if they believe in similar ideas and values. We don’t dupe anyone. Our model is quite different from the mainstream media, which pushes its agenda under the garb of neutrality. But the mainstream media pushes the agenda so hard that its credibility around the world lies in tatters. In terms of being effective political tools, the millenial websites that we mentioned have proven to be far more effective. Perhaps, this is what the Aam Aadmi Party was trying in India. At least that’s what The Logical Indian’s history tells us logically, but one can never be sure. There could be a strong possibility that the page founders started as AAP and Kejriwal fanboys and then got disenchanted with them.
But it is only a matter of time before even the millenial websites are called out for what they are. In the world of social media, detecting subtle patterns and exposing them at a large scale is not uncommon. Perhaps it is time to get over the idea that the media can be neutral or unbiased. There is nothing wrong in wearing one’s identity on their sleeves. In fact that is the honest way of doing things. And perhaps the most logical one too.
This meme aptly sums up this logical transformation:
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