Aaj Tak Falls For Joke, Shares Video About Musk ‘Rehiring’ Two ‘Ex-Employees’
Ligma and Johnson are pranksters who spoke to the media as fired Twitter employees after Elon Musk took over.
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Hindi News channel Aaj Tak fell for a sarcastic tweet from Twitter's new boss Elon Musk and claimed that he had rehired two employees that were laid off after he took over the company.
What does the video say?: Aaj Tak shared a 37-second video claiming that Musk realised he had made a mistake laying Twitter employees off en masse.
It added that Elon said, "it was the biggest mistake," and pleaded for employees to come back, sharing a photo with two rehired employees and airing a screenshot of the tweet.
What is the truth?: The two people in the photograph were not actual Twitter employees. The men, who go by the names Rahul Ligma and Daniel Johnson, stood outside Twitter's headquarters in California, USA pretending to be fired employees after Musk took over Twitter on 27 October, and spoke to the media.
How did we find out?: We looked for the tweet with the photograph aired in the bulletin and saw that Musk had shared it on 16 November, saying, "Welcoming back Ligma & Johnson!" and that it was "important to admit when I am wrong & firing them was truly one of my biggest mistakes."
However, a keyword search led us to several news reports (by media organisations like Mint, Economic Times, and The Indian Express), which stated that the two were pranksters.
In a video report, the news agency AFP identified them as such, sharing a video on their YouTube channel titled, "Pranksters pretending to be laid-off Twitter employees leave San Francisco HQ."
Where did this originate from?: News organisation CNBC first ran the news of Ligma and Johnson being fired from Twitter but issued a correction in the copy after details about the two being pranksters emerged.
Host Deirdre Bosa also shared a video on her verified Twitter account saying she regretted not confirming who the two were.
Musk reacts to the duo's prank: Musk had also tweeted about the pair the day they gave interviews to the media outside Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco, sharing screenshots of the two saying, "Ligma Johnson had it coming".
When a Twitter user highlighted the prank, Musk responded by calling them "one of the best trolls ever."
Who are the pranksters?: We looked for Daniel and Rahul's social media profiles and found that neither of their Twitter accounts ('@growing_daniel' and '@0interestrates') had any mention of being Twitter employees before the prank.
Currently, Daniel – who has a verified Twitter account – in his bio, talks about Musk's appreciation of the prank and American podcaster Joe Rogan's criticism of it being "not that good."
Conclusion: Aaj Tak fell for a joke by two pranksters, further pushed by Elon Musk, and reported that Musk had rehired two sacked employees and regretted firing them.
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