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A unique study on tweets, YouTube videos and trends suggests that the ‘Murder Theory’ may have been used by some vested politicians, journalists and media houses for their own benefit in the case involving the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, so that more Traction can be collected.

The study was carried out by a team of researchers led by an associate professor at the University of Michigan. This study shows that the content that was promoting absolutely baseless murder theories got more traction than suicide theory. Titled “Anatomy of a Rumors: Social Media and Suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput”, this pre-print study suggests that the accounts of politicians were instrumental in turning the neuter from suicide to murder in the SSR case. The research team analyzed about 7,000 YouTube videos and 10,000 tweets, which were linked to about 2,000 journalists and media houses and 1,200 politicians.

Sushant Case replaced as ‘Murder’ in place of ‘Suicide’

In the study it has been pointed out that especially in the initial phase, the case of presenting the case as ‘Murder’ instead of ‘Suicide’ was the reason for turning the case apart. This was later followed by the media. Emotional analysis in the study reveals that political accounts started a coordinated effort to demand a CBI probe in mid-July while journalists pushed the anti-Maharashtra government neuter in full force in early August.

Riya Chakraborty, Aditya Thackeray, Salman target 

The study also found that Riya Chakraborty, Aditya Thackeray, Disha Salian and Salman Khan were the most targeted characters of the propaganda campaign in this entire episode. Joyjit Pal, an associate professor at the University of Michigan, who led the study, told India Today that there was little chance that the online engagement was organic. Pal said, “The entire social media space has been so effectively armed that you can turn any issue that has an emotional aspect into something that the whole country can stick to.”

Pal told that with the fusion of real life story, potential interest groups tried to influence the online neuter. He said that his team analyzed the content being pushed specifically by the media, journalists and politicians, as these are the people who are expected to behave responsibly in the online world as well.

Pal points out that the SSR episode is a very important story in today’s India, who works hard to gain a foothold due to being an outsider at the club. And this story also got a lot of organic response. Also, Pal says that there are many discrepancies regarding the data. He said, “But there is a pattern within it … There is a big difference from the point of view of how much one party talks about murder and how much about the other theory, so much of it being organic at such a level of data Less likely. “

Use of the word ‘Murder’

The study found that accounts associated with BJP were more aggressive in using the word ‘Murder’. “The data shows that politicians, particularly those associated with the BJP, played an important role in proposing the ‘Murder’ option instead of ‘Suicide’ neuter,” the study said.

Media channels get economic benefit from the spread of Sushant Story 

Clearing the impact of the Sushant Singh Sajput death case in the public discourse, Pal said, “The most important conclusion we have is that when politicians or media houses talked about Sushant Singh Rajput, even when there were some obvious baseless facts , So it got more engagement than when they talked about any other subject. The study paper also indicated that media channels who spread these stories also received economic benefits. According to Pal, a particular media network Received too many clicks on SSR issue. 

PAL started the University of Michigan’s Global Information Exchange Program. He has led the Columbia Digital Culture and Observatory project. He has also been associated with Microsoft Research, India. Syed Zainab Akbar, Ankur Sharma, Himani Negi and Anmol Panda from Microsoft Research India were part of the research team.


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