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Pakistan's fake news plot busted: Twitter suspends 50 bogus handles for top Army officials

Fake twitter handles of top serving and retired Army generals, including Indian Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat and other Army officers were created by Pakistan to spread propaganda after the abrogations of Article 370. The plot was exposed as the Indian Army ensured that 50 such handles were shut down by the social media platform.

Other than Army chief, handles of Vice Chief Lt Gen Devraj Ambu, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and Lt Gen Balwant, who retired last year after serving as the Central Army Commander, were also taken down from Twitter.

Fake news handles included one in the name of Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, who is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. The Army sources said that the handle peddled fake news in a bid to trigger controversy.


There was an exponential rise in the number of such fake handles. The ideas was to give an impression of authenticity to fake news and propaganda, said an Army source.

Acting on Centre's request, the Twitter has shut down 50 such handles of serving and retired officers.

The imposters also operated a fake Twitter in the name of Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (retd) - a former DG Military Operation,s who is a credible commentator on defence matters.

According to the rules of the Indian Army, serving officers cannot identify themselves in uniform on social media. All of these had officers in uniform, a clear indication that these were fake handles.

The posts tweeted from these fake handles usually had videos of alleged human rights violations or civil-military rift and aimed to create a false narrative.

After the abrogation of Article 370, most tweets were about Kashmir and often had old videos from other parts of the world, sources said.

The government has set up 24x7 monitoring to identify any such fake handles and platforms on social media, including YouTube videos.

There were many dormant accounts opened 4-5 years backs of not just officials but also Bollywood stars that became extremely active recently to push a false narrative, said an Army source.

Once such account was that of Rani Mukherjee that was started in May 2014.

Last year, a fake letter attributed to the Indian Army was circulated widely. The letter stated that the motivation and will to fight was at an all-time low, owing 6to several welfare issues, discrimination, manhandling and homosexuality. The letter was allegedly signed by a Brigadier rank officer and was a fake.

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