Whose Narrative? Political Counternarratives and Citizen Gaslighting on Social Media
Keywords:gaslighting, post-truth, social media, affective, algorithm
This paper proposes the study of ‘gaslight’ narratives spread across various social media plat-forms, with respect to Indian political circumstances in the present context. With the increasing number of Covid-related deaths, there is a sudden movement towards sharing posts consisting of memes, news reports and videos criticizing the role of the government in fighting the crisis arising from the spread of the coronavirus. This is mostly featured on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The presence of a counternarrative discrediting the criticism through the means of #positivity can be considered a form of gaslighting of citizens. The construction of such counternarratives features the use of mind manipulation similar to the practice of psychological gaslighting. The prevalence of fake news further plays an important role with respect to trans-media gaslighting in social media. The paper seeks to analyze status updates to understand the method of mind manipulation to create an illusionary truth in the eyes of various social media users.