Farhan Virk: Activist or troll?

Farhan Virk: Activist or troll?
The power of social media is an indisputable force in the world. With the universal platform (internet), where three billion people are connected online, it has emerged as the strongest and the most powerful network in the history of mankind.
There was a time when news broadcasts on Television spread like wildfire, today TV also seems to be in need of social media; the usage of social media as positive or negative is a different debate.
Politicians, celebrities, and sportsmen prefer social media over the TV to forward their message to the public. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram top the list of social media platforms.
If you are an active user of Twitter, then you must know Farhan Virk. Twitterati are divided over Farhan Virk; some call him ‘social media activist’, while others accused him of being a ‘troll’.
Let’s take an in-depth review of Farhan Virk’s life and the controversies he faced.
Who is Farhan Virk?
Farhan Virk is a social media activist and political commentator who has gained following on Twitter for his tweets in support of the Pakistan Tehreek -e-Insaf (PTI) government. Farhan Virk’s Twitter account had 207,000 followers.
International media calls Farhan Virk a nationalist. He leads Team Imran Khan, a Twitter army of more than 1,000 volunteers. When India-Pakistan tensions escalate, Farhan Virk mounts an online attack. His wife, who also leads a giant cyber-army, hatches plans to infiltrate mainstream news across India.
Farhan Virk became the center of controversy when it was discovered that he had been impersonating famed Pakistani physicist Abdul Qadeer Khan on Twitter, later he publically apologized for his act.
In 2019, The Official Social Media Team (SMT) of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) declared complete detachment from Farhan Virk. The Head of PTI Social Media Team Department Muhammad Kamran said that it is really condemnable to present this unofficial individual as a representative of the PTI Official SMT on electronic media.
His account was suspended several times. The reasons for his Twitter account being suspended are not clear. Some reports suggested that Farhan Virk had been making fake accounts of various prominent personalities in Pakistan and using them to set trends. However, the news could not be confirmed.
Farhan’s response
The controversial activist said that he thinks his account suspension was related to the news published in Pakistani English newspaper Dawn in which he was accused of being a ‘hashtag trader’.
He did not deny the allegation and said that trending a hashtag under an organized campaign is not a violation of Twitter rules.
Farhan said that he had appealed to Twitter against the account suspension and if Twitter will not ‘take notice of his appeal’ then he will announce his retirement from social media.
International media has also made a documentary on the controversial personality and labeled him as a ‘Hyper-Nationalist’. In the documentary, Farhan Varik said, “A lot of people in Pakistan call me a troll. I used to be a troll. I have no problem accepting it.”
The fact is that Farhan Virk has the status of a trendsetter on social media who voluntarily looks at the situation and decides accordingly what he should say. After the documentary posted on social media, the Twitter users are once again divided and a debate has emerged, whether Farhan is an activist or a troll after all.
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