Indian Media Falls for Fake Tweet on France Revoking 183 Pak Visas
The fake tweet was posted by an imposter account of the Pakistani embassy in France.
Several Indian media outlets, including DNA, Zee News, TV9 Bharatvarsh and News18 published a report on 1 November, Sunday, falsely claiming that France had “cancelled visitor visas of 183 Pakistani nationals and 118 nationals have been forcibly deported”.
However, the reports were based on a tweet from an imposter account called Consulate General Of Pakistan France (@PakConsulateFr). The original Twitter account of the Embassy of Pakistan in France (@PakInFrance) clarified that the tweet by the imposter account was not true.
This comes after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan accused French President Emmanuel Macron of “attacking Islam” by encouraging the display of Prophet Muhammad’s cartoons.
DNA carried a report on their website, saying that “France has revoked the visitor visas of 183 Pakistani nationals, including relatives of Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, former chief of Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI. Not only this, but France has also forcibly deported 118 Pakistanis. This action of Macron government is directly linked to the anti-French rhetoric of Imran Khan.”
The information was also posted on social media handles of small news agencies and regular social media users.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
When we did a keyword search for “183 visitor visas”, we found that this tweet was made by Consulate General of Pakistan France (PakConsulateFr). The information in the tweet, that was posted on 31 October, matched with the news reports that were published a day later on 1 November.
Further the account was created in April 2020, but the first retweet (there is no tweet and the first one was made on 31 October) was in September.
We then came across this tweet posted by Embassy of Pakistan, Paris, France (PakinFrance) which said, “The Embassy of Pakistan in Paris, France has only one Twitter account @PakInFrance. Any other account claiming to represent the Embassy anywhere in France is fake & misleading & may be reported to @Twitter.”
To check the authenticity of the account, we looked for their website. We found that their Facebook page was a verified one and carried their Twitter handle on it.
Clearly, several India media houses fell for a fake tweet by an imposter account and claimed that France had cancelled 183 Pakistani visas, including that of the sister of a former ISI chief.
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