Hubert Aiwanger: With a tweet he caused a lot of confusion on Twitter
Photo: Stefan Puchner / dpa
Most social media professionals would probably be happy if they had managed to get three buzzwords onto the German Twitter trends with just one short comment in the evening by the next morning.
Bavaria's Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger did just that.
Nevertheless, he shouldn't be too happy that one of his contributions has currently become the template for parodies, but also the breeding ground for wild speculation about a possible digital double life.
"Aiwanger", "Peter Müller" and "second account", these terms were all in the top ten Twitter trends in Germany on Friday morning.
"Peter Müller" does not mean the former Prime Minister of Saarland, but the Twitter user @PeterMl64582938 with a low two-digit number of followers.
And referring to exactly this account, Thomas von Sarnowski, the party leader of the Bavarian Greens, wrote on Friday morning that people in Bavaria "have a right to know what relationship Hubert Aiwanger has to Peter Müller": "He should explain himself."
What, please, had escalated here?
A self-praise – or a self-revelation?
Anyone who wants to understand the excitement ends up with a strangely self-referential reply tweet from Hubert Aiwanger to a critical remark about an appearance on "BILD TV".
On Thursday evening at 8:54 p.m., the account of the Free Voters politician with around 24,000 followers suddenly said: »Mr. Aiwanger, we need more politicians like you, with common sense and pragmatism.
With an ear to the citizen.
and not like many other unworldly in cloud cuckoo land!
You are a fighter and have established your post as a bayr.
Economics Minister hard-earned against resistance!«
An embarrassing self-praise, one might think.
Some Twitter users immediately made fun of it.
Others put forward an assumption: Aiwanger certainly wanted to spread the flattering message via a second account – presumably he or someone from his social media team just forgot to switch between the main and second account.
This thesis got additional impetus from the fact that the text could be found verbatim in another account, in that of @PeterMl64582938, who calls himself Peter Müller on Twitter.
@PeterMl64582938 responded to a message from Hubert Aiwanger's account with the praise on the same evening.
A minor account that suddenly seems relevant
So could it be, some wondered, that Hubert Aiwanger also runs the @PeterMl64582938 account to put himself in a positive light on the internet?
An account that has very few followers but has already made all sorts of political comments via Twitter's reply feature that would suddenly be much more relevant if they were from Aiwanger?
Two smaller bubbles were created within the Twitter bubble: the one in which Aiwanger's tweet served as a joke.
In it, for example, the account of Late Night Berlin, the TV show by Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, spoke up: “Mr. Heufer-Umlauf, we need more moderators like you, with wit and good looks With an ear to the viewer.
and not like many other unworldly in the division!
You are a fighter and have worked hard for your position as a star moderator against Joko! « And Johannes Vogel, the deputy federal chairman of the FDP, asked, alluding to a slip of the tongue by Markus Söder: »Crystal Mett already legal in Bavaria?
Meanwhile, in the second bubble, what @PeterMl64582938 has said that has been exciting or questionable since the account was created in November 2021 was dissected.
Aiwanger says so himself
Hubert Aiwanger himself initially seemed to underestimate the fact that the topic was boiling up.
In the face of allegations that he could operate a second account, he repeatedly pointed out that Peter Müller's tweet did exist.
He wrote to a user: “I only forwarded what others commented on”.
On Friday morning, Aiwanger felt compelled to react again.
In a post with a screenshot of @PeterMl64582938's original reply, he wrote: "#Aiwanger see below so now anyone who wants to know where the text is coming from can get it.
Many of those who want to smear me with a second account probably have one themselves.
I do not have any."
In addition, when asked by SPIEGEL, the press spokesman for Freie Wahler Bayern said that Hubert Aiwanger "only quoted the message from another user in a lively discussion on Twitter and published it in his account".
There is "nothing reprehensible" about it.
The politician's tweet referred to an "existing, public, verifiable tweet by a Twitter user under a tweet by Hubert Aiwanger".
"Hubert Aiwanger does not have a fake account," the spokesman emphasized again, "such allegations are far-fetched."
The excitement could have been avoided
Aiwanger, as these statements sound, basically just wanted to counter the criticism of his television appearance with the praise of Twitter user @PeterMl64582938 for Aiwanger.
This explanation also makes sense because it fits the timing: According to Twitter, @PeterMl64582938 posted his hymn of praise at 8:35 p.m.
At 20:54, Aiwanger's other reply tweet followed, which is now the subject of so much discussion.
The question remains, how could it happen that the simple rendering of a praise causes so much excitement, on Twitter of all places, a platform made for the digital vanity competition?
The crux of the matter here is that Hubert Aiwanger appears to have flouted the platform's unwritten rules.
He neither marked his tweet, for example, with quotation marks and a mention of @PeterMl64582938, nor did he take the opportunity to post the link to @PeterMl64582938's tweet.
Presumably Hubert Aiwanger just wrote a tweet in a somewhat unprofessional, misleading and for some even in a highly suspicious way.
However, there is also no absolute clarity that Aiwanger has nothing to do with @PeterMl64582938.
Theoretically, it would at least be possible that @PeterMl64582938, for example, is an account from Aiwanger's private or professional environment.
However, that would be a different case than a second account on which the minister himself comments on political events.
The person who could also resolve this ambiguity has not yet commented on the subject: @PeterMl64582938, the man some believe is actually called Hubert Aiwanger.