Users Fall for ANI’s Fake Account Saying Twitter Shutting in India
ANI didn’t tweet any such information on its official handle and the viral tweet was from an imposter account.
A tweet shared by an imposter account of news agency ANI has led to many believing that Twitter will shut its operations in India from Wednesday, 26 May.
This comes in the backdrop of the deadline to comply with legal rules meant for social media platforms, which were issued by the government three months ago, coming to an end on Tuesday, 25 May, posing a threat to the operations of the likes of Twitter and Facebook in India.
However, we found that ANI didn’t tweet any such information on its official handle and the viral tweet was from a fake account, which has now been taken down.
The tweet shared by ‘@ANINewsIndia’ reads: “#Breaking...Twitter will stop operations in India w.e.f 26th May 00:00 hrs. Use of any VPN, third party API will be treated as criminal offence under section 437. (sic)”
‘ANINEWSINDIA’ IS AN IMPOSTER ACCOUNT OF ANI
On comparing the official handle of news agency ANI with the imposter one, we noticed several discrepancies. For instance, the Twitter handle of ANI’s official account is ‘@ANI’ but that of the imposter one is ‘@ANINewslndia’.
The official account is a verified one, has a cover photo, and over five million followers, however, that’s not the case when it comes to the imposter account.
Further, the imposter account was created in 2020, while the official one joined Twitter in 2011.
IMPOSTER ACCOUNT CHANGED DETAILS AFTER BEING CALLED OUT
Firstly, the imposter Twitter account used small ‘L’ and not capital ‘I’ in the word ‘India’ in its handle name ‘@ANINewslndia.’
We searched on Twitter using the imposter account’s handle with small ‘L’ and came across conversations in which the handle had been mentioned.
The imposter account in question changed the name of its account and its Twitter handle to ‘@parodyakkount’ after being called out by several users. In one of the conversations seen below, we noticed ‘@parodyakkount’ being mentioned instead of ‘@ANINewslndia.’
COMPARISON OF VIRAL TWEET WITH THE ONE AFTER IMPOSTER ACCOUNT DETAILS WERE CHANGED
We drew a comparison between the screenshot shared by Karthik Srinivasan of the viral tweet and the one captured by The Quint’s WebQoof team after the account name and handle had been changed and found several similarities.
For instance, the time stamp of 04:39 pm and the dateline are same in both the cases. Even the display picture is the same.
We compared the account details of the handle @ANINewslndia with @parodyakkount and found that several details matched. Both of them didn’t follow anybody and both were created in May 2020.
It is pertinent to note that Twitter account @parodyakkount has also been deleted.
Minutes after The Quint’s WebQoof team had captured the aforementioned screenshots, the imposter account changed its display picture as well.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE LAST TWEETS SHARED BY IMPOSTER ACCOUNT?
A look at some of the last tweets of the account ‘@parodyakkount’ showed that it took a dig at verified accounts falling for the viral tweet. It had also retweeted few tweets that tagged ‘@ANINewslndia’ in them.
Evidently, an imposter account of ANI falsely claimed that Twitter will stop its operation in India from Wednesday, 26 May.
WHAT IS HAPPENING BETWEEN TECH GIANTS AND GOVT?
Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and others, were required to abide by the rules notified in the Gazette of India on 25 February under Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021, that are scheduled to come into force on Wednesday, 26 May.
In a statement to The Quint, Facebook says that it 'aims to comply' and will continue to discuss the issues with the government on the new IT Rules.
“We aim to comply with the provisions of the IT Rules and continue to discuss a few of the issues, which need more engagement with the government. Pursuant to the IT Rules, we are working to implement operational processes and improve efficiencies. Facebook remains committed to people’s ability to freely and safely express themselves on our platform.”Facebook Spokesperson
Meanwhile, Twitter, which has not complied with the new rules yet, declined to comment, when contacted by The Quint. Tech giants Google and YouTube on Tuesday, 25 May, assured the Indian government of their intention to comply with the Centre’s new digital rules.
Further, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has moved the Delhi High Court challenging the Centre’s new digital rules, Reuters reported, quoting sources.
(Update: The story has been updated to reflect additional details about the imposter account of news agency ANI)
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