Parody Accounts Apparently Created For Fun Have Become Hot Beds Of Fake News & Hate Posts
April 22nd, 2018
The world lives and laughs on the internet nowadays. But there’s a thin line between what’s funny and what’s plain offensive to particular communities and individuals. A lot of parody accounts exist on Facebook and Twitter. While most are harmless, there are many others apparently not created for humour but to spread fake news and hate posts. Parody accounts of Indian newspapers claim in their bio that all their tweets are fake and a figment of their imagination. But somehow in the charade of being funny, these pages have been perpetuating fake news that can potentially harm someone’s reputation and also incite communal and political tension. Some of these accounts are Times How, The Unpaid Times, Limes of India and Republic TV.
Spot the difference
These parody accounts have similar names to national media houses and it is very easy to confuse one with the other. What happens as a consequence is that people, without realising the authenticity of the account, share whatever these parody accounts share. Times Now becomes Times How and Times of India becomes Limes of India.
Just In : "There are around 40 Congress Leaders fasting at Rajghat, some are fasting for 3 hours while others for 5 hours, so if we keep average of 4 hours, then its almost 160 hours of fasting which is almost 7 days. Remarkable."
– Priyanka Chaturvedi (File Pic) pic.twitter.com/zQ5xdxI4FA
— TIMES HOW (@TiimesHow) April 9, 2018
This post has been shared over 2,000 times believing this was an actual statement made by Priyanka Chaturvedi. This statement is not true.
Just In : After the viral video of Priya Prakash Varrier, Whenever we or our fellow Muslim Brothers closed our eyes to offer Namaz, instead of Allah, her face would appear, which is hurting our sentiments, hence we issued a fatwa against her."
– Maulana Atif Qadri (File Pic) pic.twitter.com/YOksBNt8S0
— TIMES HOW (@TiimesHow) February 14, 2018
This tweet is pinned to the top of the page in Times How and been shared almost 3,000 times, once again believing that this statement was true. Once again, it’s not.
Limes of India
#Kashmir : Tina Dabi will not change religion after marriage, says her children can get reservation in government jobs on behalf of her name & minority benefits on her husband's pic.twitter.com/LxWI7sNAZf
— Limes Of India (@LimesOfIndia) April 9, 2018
This tweet has the potential to harm the reputation of the woman. Also, it’s not even funny. In the wake of the recent anti-quota protest, when there already is rage against reservation, this further adds fuel to fire.
The Unpaid Times
Rahul Gandhi never made the above statement. The information here is completely false but comments below the post show that people actually believed it to be true.
While the above Twitter accounts are easily distinguishable, the parody account of Republic TV is not. It has the same name as the news channel with the minute difference that it’s Republic TV while the official news channel is just Republic and is verified with a blue tick.
Other differences are in the logo of both the accounts:
This is one the tweets made by the parody account which reeks of communalism:
#BREAKING : Even after Salman Khan 'a muslim' pleaded not guilty, and a muslim never lies, still Court convicted him in #BlackBuckPoachingCase , It proves Muslims aren't safe in India : Shehla Rashid pic.twitter.com/db5Lou5rhF
— RepubIic TV (@repubIicTv) April 5, 2018
The former President of JNU student’s council, Shehla Rashid, who has already faced a lot of backlash for being vocal about human rights in Kashmir, was trolled even more. She never made the above statement.
The Logical Indian take
As citizens of the country, we have a certain responsibility. While trolls and parody accounts have taken the responsibility upon themselves to share as much as false information possible, it is our responsibility to differentiate between what is true and what isn’t, while making others aware about the issue too.
Creating or sharing fake news is never justified. We have a responsibility to verify everything that we post on the internet. To ensure that our national debate is healthy and well-informed, each and every one of us has a responsibility of treating what we read with a pinch of salt, a spoonful of doubt, and a flood of research.
Also published on Medium.