When you search for “Narendra Modi” on Twitter, you’ll definitely find the Prime Minister of India right at the top with a smile on his face and a blue tick next to his name. But you’ll find couple dozen more Narendra Modis, some created by fans and some by his dissenters. Collectively they can be clubbed under ‘fake/parody’ profiles. PM Narendra Modi is no exception, there are parody profiles for almost every public personality and it’s not just confined to Politics. There exists a parody profile for EX-RBI chief and noted economist Raghuram Rajan as well. The profile that goes by the handle @RaghuramRRajan has clearly stated in its bio “Tweets/RTs are Unofficial parody”. The page has amassed over 17 thousand followers on Twitter. It must be noted that Raghuram Rajan has no official page on Twitter.
The parody account tweeted “When you don’t understand the #GRAVITY of the economic slowdown, the words stumble, and reasoning becomes feeble. If someone thinks that maths doesn’t help understanding gravity and economics, then it’s a sign that you are hiding the actual statistical data. Newton must be smiling”
When you don't understand the #GRAVITY of the economic slowdown, the words stumble and reasoning becomes feeble. If someone thinks that maths doesn't help understanding gravity and economics, then it's a sign that you are hiding the actual statistical data. Newton must be smiling
— Raghuram Rajan (@RaghuramRRajan) September 13, 2019
The caustic tweet posted from the fake Raghuram Rajan twitter handle got picked up by none other than ABP news which was quick to publish a 550 worder titled “It’s Sign That You’re Hiding Real Data: Ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan On Piyush Goyal Faux Pas“, explaining in great details about how former RBI governor Raghuraman Rajan launched a ‘scathing’ attack on Piyush Goyal. The ABP News article also explains Einstein’s general theory of relativity and Newton’s law of universal gravitation. The article then tries to drag Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the muck too who as per the article ‘was trolled’ by netizens for blaming Uber-Ola for the slow down in Auto Sector. The article nowhere mentions Anand Mahindra who issued a similar statement 4 years back.
Social media was quick to point ABP’s blunder:
— Sumit Katiyar (@iSkatiyar) September 13, 2019
Duffers @ABPNews did whole story based on tweet from a parody account of Raghuram Rajan.
Imagine the kind of Journalism pic.twitter.com/2tTqKZHyIK
— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) September 13, 2019
The jokers at ABP news create a report on comments made by a parody account.
— Suresh Nakhua 🇮🇳 ( सुरेश नाखुआ ) (@SureshNakhua) September 13, 2019
Parody profiles masquerading as genuine ones are all over the social media and hence it is absolutely necessary for journalists to fact-check the information first and then publish. It becomes all the more important when the alleged accuser is a former RBI chief and the one being accused is a current cabinet minister. It is a well-known fact that the media is always on an excuse hunting expedition to malign the central government and its minister by hook or by crook. Hence this may even be a case of deliberate agenda peddling against Piyush Goyal. By the time, ABP sends out an official communique, the news would have traveled wide and deep. Fake news is a major menace in India and a major talking point all over the world, and when a leading news website resorts to fake news based on fake tweets from fake handles, it becomes extremely precarious. Bummer ABP! Hire better journos!