Fake Accounts Impersonating BJP President Candidate Droupadi Murmu Crop Up
Droupadi Murmu does not have a verified Twitter account yet, and there are many users impersonating her.
Shortly after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA coalition (National Democratic Alliance) announced former Jharkhand governor Droupadi Murmu as its presidential candidate, several Twitter accounts impersonating Murmu cropped up on social media.
The Quint went through three accounts with over 10,000 followers each that were operating with handles related to Murmu's name, who does not have a verified Twitter account as on 23 June.
FIRST SHIKHA, THEN 'DRAUPADI'
The first account we checked used the handle '@DraupdiMurmuBJP' and had joined Twitter on September 2021. With over 31,800 followers, this account only showed nine tweets at the time of writing this article, with the oldest one thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a quote-tweet on 21 June.
It must be noted that the account's bio now states: "Draupadi Murmu is not on twitter. This is only a fan account. (sic)"
While the bio said that it was a "fan account", a tweet where the person thanked PM Modi was liked by over 45,000 people.
We ran the handle on Tweeter ID, a website that shows the unique numerical identifier assigned to every Twitter profile. The website returned the code '1433340051363176450' for this account.
Carrying out a Google search with this string of numbers led us to a single result, which showed the same number for a different username, '@shikhasrajput'.
Taking a cue from this, we looked for archives of tweets by @shikhasrajput on internet archiving website Wayback Machine.
Here, we found that the latest archive for this user was captured on 17 June 2022, days before Murmu was declared NDA's presidential candidate. However, the archive showed a different description in its bio, which read 'Bhartiya'.
Moreover, we compared this account's unique Twitter ID to the one we found for @draupdimurmubjp, and saw that both IDs matched.
'@DRAUPADI_MURMU' A 'PARODY ACCOUNT'
Next, we looked at an account going by the username @Draupadi_Murmu, which has more than 20,000 followers. This account was created in August 2021, and has shared 759 tweets at the time of writing this article.
We combed through the tweets and replies associated with this account, and came across a tweet dated 10 October 2021, which tagged online grocery outlet Jio Mart to speak about grains and discounts.
Under this tweet, we saw that Jio Mart's verified support handle had responded to '@Draupadi_Murmu', referring to the user as 'Noor'.
Looking at some of the account's oldest tweets showed replies to one @MMohan_inc.
These tweets shared news articles regarding developments in China, and showed support for web series on OTT platforms.
(Note: Swipe right to view both photos.)
We looked for archives of tweets from @MMohan_inc, and found an account that was operating as former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 'parody' account.
Next, we checked the @Draupadi_Murmu account's unique Twitter ID, which was 1428980820132335620.
On comparing this to the unique ID associated with @MMohan_inc's account, we saw that both identifier numbers were identical.
'@DRAUPADIMURMU_' ALSO DOESN'T BELONG TO THE NDA PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
We came across another account impersonating Murmu, this time with the handle '@DraupadiMurmu_' and nearly 26,500 followers. Created in August 2021 as well, this account had shared 14,000 tweets at the time of writing this article.
This account too, mentioned that it was a 'parody account' but like the first account, a tweet thanking PM Modi received over 65,000 likes.
Going through this account's interactions indicated that it previously used the username '@MukeshKN_', as it showed people responding to the username for tweets sent by the account in question.
We also saw that the account had shared tweets against Uttar Pradesh BJP leader Manju Siwach, which would be odd as Murmu is associated with the party.
It also retweeted multiple posts criticising the Delhi government and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
We then checked @DraupadiMurmu_'s unique numerical Twitter ID using website Tweeter ID, which returned the string '1430023570936139811' as the identifier.
To check whether this ID matched that of user MukeshKN_'s, we looked for archives of 'Mukesh's' tweets and looked for its identifier.
We saw that this account earlier ran as a parody account for Bollywood actor Mukesh Khanna, and that its user ID matched the one we found for @DraupadiMurmu_.
Ever since the BJP-led NDA announced her candidature, several Twitter users have changed their usernames to impersonate Murmu.
Evidently, none of these accounts actually belong to NDA presidential candidate and former governor of Jharkhand Droupadi Murmu.
(With inputs from SM Hoax Slayer.)
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