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Govt’s ‘Fake News Buster’ account challenged with another alternate fake account

KARACHI: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Oct 1 launched a Twitter account named ‘Fake News Buster’, with an aim to expose fake news, however, another account sprang up shortly with the same title, prompting the government to issue clarification to distinguish between the fake and the real twitter handles.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had taken to Twitter yesterday to express his resentment on a fake news regarding appointment of Zulfi Bukhari’s sister as chairperson of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

Maleeka Bukhari herself denied the report through her twitter account. The minister in his response said: “A series of Fake notifications and news is systematically spread on social media, it started from a media dinner picture and now there is a series of such rubbish. Without effecting freedom on SM we need to take strict action against fake news.”

A few hours after his tweet, the information ministry created an account titled ‘Fake News Buster’. Since the social media is not regulated and has no legal cover to catch rumour mongers, another account resembling to that of the government appeared in couple of hours carrying the same display picture, title and information used by the information ministry on its real account.

Fake News Pakistan PTI

The original account has 19,900 followers so far, while the one implying to a genuine one has 476 followers as yet. A close inspection can help users detect the fake account through its description that says: “Twitter Handle of Ministry of Interior & BroadCoasting for Exposing #FakeNews”. The account has written ‘Ministry of Interior’ instead of the ‘Ministry of Information’, while mis-spelled broadcasting. Besides, it is surprising to note that the fake account’s Twitter joining date is shown on the profile as June 2018. It is possible that the account was being operated under some other title and its user a day ago changed the handle and all information to dupe users.

The Information Ministry’s FakeNewsBuster account posted a screenshot of the fake account and asked people to ‘beware of fake and real’ accounts simultaneously being operated, one by the ministry and another anonymously.

According to a tweet by Chaudhry’s official account, the FakeNewsBusterMoIB page will be used to give the “official response” to “false propaganda” on social media in a timely manner.

The account (Twitter handle @FakeNews_Buster) will also be used to “identify the users who spread fake news and requests will be made to take action against them”, it said.

According to another tweet by PTI’s official Twitter page, the account will be used to counter “fake and negative propaganda” and “fake and negative news” and take action against the people who spread them.

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