The recently concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections saw leaders and party workers from various parties participating and campaigning on the ground as well on social media up until the last phase of polls on 7 March.
The results were announced on 10 March, declaring the Bharatiya Janata Party's win in the state.
Ahead of the elections, purported social media accounts of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav's children – Aditi Yadav and Arjun Yadav – gained popularity for supporting and defending their father's party and work.
However, we found that neither of the accounts with tens of thousands of followers were associated with any of the Yadav family children.
We examined two accounts (with a following of over 42,000 and 1.68 lakh respectively) with usernames of two of the Yadav children, but found that they had changed usernames over time and were impersonating Aditi and Arjun Yadav.
ACCOUNT IMPERSONATING ARJUN YADAV CALLS ITSELF 'OFFICIAL'
We came across an account with the username @arjunsaifai which claims to be the "official account" of Akhilesh Yadav's son.
We saw that the account had shared content referring to Mulayam Singh Yadav as 'dadaji' (paternal grandfather) while referring to Akhilesh Yadav as 'pitaji' (father) on 13 March, days after the results were declared.
Entering the account's handle on TweeterID, we extracted its numeric Twitter ID, which is a string of numbers unique to each account. For 'arjunsaifai' account, the unique ID was found to be 1246063320383107075.
Looking this number up on Google returned one result, which mentioned the same Twitter ID and an account with the name 'Kartikeya Yadav' and handle '@proframgoaplsp.'
A search for 'proframgoaplsp' on Twitter led us to tweets and replies to @arjunsaifai account.
Using WayBack Machine, a webpage archiving tool, we looked for older tweets shared by proframgoaplsp's account. The search returned over 40 results showing archived tweets.
We looked for the unique Twitter ID associated with this account, and saw that it was the same as the one for arjunsaifai.
While the dates on both tweets is the same, it must be noted that the time stamp differs by 30 minutes. This discrepancy in the timestamp of both tweets could be due to Wayback Machine's archiving system.
While this account's name and username remain unchanged even after the conclusion of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, we were able to confirm that the account does not belong to Arjun Yadav.
FORMERLY ADITI YADAV, NOW A 'FAN CLUB'
In another such case, we found that an account that had previously been operating with the handle 'Aditiyadav52500' has now changed its account handle to 'aradhyroy', and also changed its username to Akhilesh Yadav Fan Club.
Scrolling through this user's Twitter account led us to a tweet that still reflected its older username which wished the SP supremo a happy birthday while referring to Yadav as 'dear father'.
We checked the unique Twitter ID for aradhyroy's account and found that it was 1119493865529073664.
Looking for archives for Aditiyadav52500's Twitter account led us to older tweets by the account under the name 'Aditi Yadav', calling Akhilesh 'papaji' and thanking people for their kind words after 'her' examination results were announced.
(Note: Swipe right to view both images.)
Both posts showed 'Aditi Yadav' speaking about herself and her family.
On looking for tweets sent to the account with the 'Aditiyadav52500' username, the search returned results showing replies to 'aradhyroy.'
Here too, we saw that the user ID for the 'aradhyroy' and the 'Aditiyadav52500' handles was the same.
The Samajwadi Party's verified Twitter account also shared an official clarification stating that accounts in the name of Akhilesh Yadav's children had cropped up across social media and had no association with the Yadav family.
We have seen several instances where fake Twitter accounts have cropped up during a news event.
Previously, we have done fact-checks on fake accounts that had cropped up in the name of Rakesh Tikait during the farmers' protest, Pakistani athlete Arshad Nadeem after Neeraj Chopra's Olympics win and 2021 Miss Universe winner Harnaaz Sandhu, among others.