Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police’s cyber wing Sunday registered an FIR against unknown people for allegedly operating a fake Twitter account of Manoj Sinha, the newly-appointed lieutenant governor of the union territory.
The account has been suspended but Tahir Ashraf, SP, incharge, Cyber Police Kashmir, said investigations are under way to determine the identities of the individuals who were allegedly impersonating Sinha.
According to Ashraf, the FIR was registered after the cyber wing of Kashmir police received multiple complaints against the Twitter handle, which the officer said had cloned the original account of L-G Sinha along with some of its content.
“The account was impersonating the Honourable LG on social media. Many individuals had even sent direct messages to the false account,” Ashraf told ThePrint. “The accused were even conversing with people who had sent him congratulatory messages thinking that this account belonged to the LG.”
Ashraf added, “An FIR has been registered and investigation is under way.” By Sunday evening, the account that went by the name of Manoj Sinha and handle name @manojsihabjp_ was suspended.
The real account of the J&K LG is under his own name and the handle is @manojsinha_.
The parody account
Twitter has a set policy for operating parody accounts, but the suspended Twitter account didn’t mention that it was a parody.
The police officer said impersonation and misusing social media platforms are serious offences.
Twitter policy states that the bio of a parody, newsfeed, commentary and fan account should “clearly indicate that the user is not affiliated with the subject of the account”.
“Non-affiliation can be indicated by incorporating, for example, words such as (but not limited to) ‘parody’, ‘fake’, ‘fan’, or ‘commentary’” Non-affiliation should be stated in a way that can be understood by the intended audience,” the policy states.
Asked to comment on Twitter’s policy, Ashraf said, “We have to follow the law of the land. Twitter’s office is based in California. The police force cannot go by laws of the US, UK or some other country. If an individual is being impersonated or his/her identity is being misused, action has to be taken.”