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Fake ‘ANI’ handle claims Twitter will cease India operations, suspended after ‘news’ went viral

'News flash' came from the handle @AniNewsIndia, which used the name of news agency ANI. Many users retweeted quote-tweeted it, before the handle was suspended.

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New Delhi: A tweet from a fake handle that claimed that Twitter is going to cease its operations in India from 26 May briefly went viral Tuesday. The fake account has seen been suspended.

The fact that the ‘news flash’ came from the handle @AniNewsIndia, which was using the name of news agency ANI, caused confusion, and many users, including journalists with verified handles like Swati Chaturvedi and Abhinandan Sekhri, ended up retweeting or quote-tweeting it.

“Twitter will stop operations in India w.e.f 26th May 00:00 hrs. Use of any VPN, third party API will be treated as a criminal offence under section 437,” stated the fake tweet.

Chaturvedi tagged the Prime Minister’s Office and said, “thanks, India is now officially a banana republic”. She has since removed the tweet.

Meanwhile, Sekhri wrote, “Wah!! Vishwaguru..ease of doing business.. etc etc etc… step 3 to going the way of Iran under Khomeni or Afghanistan under Taliban.. The usual media monkeys still justifying and applauding? Step 1 & 2 were taken a while ago.”

Later, he too, deleted the tweet.

Another verified user, Rahul Roushan, shared a screenshot of the tweet asking if the news was indeed true.

Also read: Twitter steals its own spotlight as #BanTwitterInIndia trends after Delhi Police raids

In the eye of a storm

Twitter has been at the centre of a controversy after it tagged some tweets by BJP leaders as ‘manipulated media’, over a toolkit allegedly made by the Congress “to defame PM Modi”.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) wrote to the social media giant, objecting to the ‘manipulated’ tag. The Delhi Police also sent a notice to Twitter India Monday over flagging some of the tweets related to the toolkit as ‘manipulated media’.

In collaboration with SM Hoaxslayer


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