Teen accidentally becomes prime minister of India on Twitter

For 30 minutes, he was the most powerful millennial in the world.


Mike Fenn

Internet Culture

Published May 23, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 6:35 am CDT

Many people have misused Twitter, fudging things up in a way that made them lose their jobs or incur the wrath of the TSA. One teen in India, however, has us all beat: he accidentally became the country’s prime minister thanks to the social media site.

According to Yahoo News, 19-year-old Qaisar Ali was scouring Twitter for a better handle than @IAmQaiserAli. When he discovered that @PMOIndia was available, he decided to save it for himself.

It turns out that, while @PMOIndia was temporarily up for grabs, it did indeed belong to the country’s actual prime minister, Manmohan Singh. Singh’s social media team abandoned the handle in favor of the account @PMOIndiaArchive when the prime minister was on his way out of office and wished to archive his tweets.

As a result, for roughly a half-hour, Ali was in complete control of @PMOIndia and its 1 million followers.

Once the gaffe was realized, Ali’s account quickly reverted back to @IAmQaiserAli and full control of @PMOIndia was reverted to the country’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi.

While the highest levels of India’s government were chastised for their lax online security measures, Ali himself took to Twitter–at the insistence of his parents–to apologize and set the record straight.

Apology for taking the name of @PMOIndia . I did it because it was vacant . Apologies . @abpnewstv

— Qaiser (@iamqaiserali) May 20, 2014

Illustration by Jason Reed

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*First Published: May 23, 2014, 8:12 am CDT