While Zubair has not been overtly active on Twitter, several tweets were removed from his account following his bail, giving an impression that the Alt News co-founder is pruning his account of objectionable tweets posted by him in the past before making a comeback on the microblogging platform.
It has been almost a week since Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair was granted bail from the Supreme Court. For a few days, Zubair remained silent, but now he has started to emerge via interviews and background Twitter activity. It is fair to assume he is now controlling his account himself, unlike the time when he was in jail, but yet tweets went missing from his Twitter profile.
First, let’s check his Twitter activity. If we look at his profile, there are no new tweets or likes, so basically zero activity as such. However, using Social Blade’s services, it is quite evident that a number of tweets have been going missing from his account. Social Blade’s analysis of his account shows that since his release, there have been four instances where a number of tweets went missing.
On July 21, a day after his release, 12 tweets were removed from his profile. On June 22, the number went up to 23. For the next couple of days, the activity was minimal, but on July 25, 25 tweets were removed, and the following day on July 26, the number went up to 64.
There is another interesting aspect of his profile’s activity that needs consideration. Zubair has a stagnant rise in the number of followers per day that stays between 100 to 500 per day on average. However, on July 21, the next day of his release, there were 9,226 new followers on his account. Since then, the number went back to 100 to 500 new followers per day. In the last 30 days, he has gained 44,011 followers.
Left-leaning portals and media houses glorify Zubair in their interviews with the Alt News co-founder
The left-leaning media houses and portals have a habit of whitewashing the crimes committed by people that they support and draw ideological convergence with, and they have a well-documented history of doing so. In the case of Mohammed Zubair, similar attempts have been made by multiple portals, including News Laundry, Scroll, The News Minute and more.
In an interview published on July 23 in The Hindu, Zubair presented himself as the victim and said after his post that contained the clip of former Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma went viral, he knew his arrest was inevitable. Interestingly, Zubair and The Hindu conveniently skipped mentioning that his edited and out-of-context video sent a storm of death and rape threats toward Sharma that still continue.
He claimed that the government wanted to make an example out of him and wanted to silence all voices that were against them. What is notable here is that his voice was not choked at any point, but it was he who ran a campaign against Nupur Sharma and silenced her for good. Not only Sharma, because of what he had propagated using the edited clip of the debate and not showing what provoked Sharma in the first place, Zubair possibly opened doors for the Islamists to act on the infamous slogan “Gustakh-e-Nabi ki Ek saza, sar tan se Juda”. He further claimed to be back at work within a week.
Speaking to the Quint, Zubair claimed if he had Twitter in jail, he would have “taught a lesson” to everyone who allegedly spread false propaganda against him in his absence. He said he was furious when he came to know Razorpay shared information with the authorities. He said, “When I learnt that Razorpay has shared the information of all the donors of AltNews with the police, I was furious. Because a lot of times before donating, acquaintances and friends would ask me, ‘Zubair bhai, our personal information won’t be shared anywhere right?’ And I would always assure them that their data is safe. I felt like I betrayed their trust.”
Zubair revealed he has three children, and he missed them and his parents and wife while he was in prison. Clarifying his position on being a journalist or not, he claimed he was not a journalist by degree, but the work he was doing was ‘very much of a journalist’.
In most of the interviews, he claimed that he was on good terms with the other inmates. He was kept in a good cell where only four to five other inmates were present. One of them was from Shiv Sena, who allegedly got on good terms with him. Zubair claimed when he came to know about his bail, he hugged him and said, “Zubair Bhai aapki bail ho gai”. Zubair continued to claim that there were “tears of joy” in Shiv Sainik’s eyes.
In the Scroll interview, he said during his conversations with the cops, he found that people were “aware” of what was happening in the country, but it might not have reflected in their votes. “Most of them were Ravish Kumar’s fans”, he added. During this interview, he claimed to have stayed with former Chairman of Ranbaxy, Malvinder Mohan Singh and other inmates who were accused of multi-crore scams. He said, “Everyone there had done some multi-crore scam – and there I was among all of them for my tweets.”
It is noteworthy that to tone down the speculations about why his photographs were not in the public domain, most of the media houses that published interviews in his support had “exclusive” photographs different from each other for the cover photo.