Every night on news channel talk shows, when you mute the TV (because you’d rather be deaf, and your TV rather be dumb, than you listen to Arnab Goswami howl, Rajat Sharma pull off white lies and Barkha Dutt chirp), and stare at the public opinion from Facebook and Twitter users, flashing on the screen (see photo), do you wonder whether these users do exist? A blogger today exposed (link) CNN-IBN’s case of cheap cheating, in which the channel aired fake tweets by non-existent people to influence public opinion on the legalisation of lobbying in India.
New Delhi: After a blogger exposed today CNN-IBN’s daredevilry to influence public opinion (“media lobbying”), it has come to light that Indian news channels create hundreds of fake Twitter accounts every day. The idea came to light when CNN-IBN apologised by saying, “We forgot to create the fake accounts this time. So, when an idle blogger sat down to find the truth, he found that our channel is indeed a bunch of cheap idiots. We regret this and will always have fake accounts ready in the future, to tweet what we want.”
After this apology, hundreds of bloggers and Twitterati all over India, scandal-loving as they are, spent their entire Friday afternoon investigating tweets aired by major news channels recently. “I found that none of the ‘so-called’ users have tweeted anything after the tweet that was telecast!” tweeted @iamsherlockholmes, “So they are fake!” Another said, “Wow! I bet Rajat Sharma uses his fake accounts to woo girls, like my friends (and I) do on FB!”
A user found that one of these “fake” accounts had posted a tweet, “It didn’t take nine months to give birth to me, but Rajdeep Babu’s income of 15 days! Yayy, I’m expensive! :D”
The Truth: “No one tweets Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt nowadays, except to send them a bunch of swear words. And SMSing to 52525 and 57575? That’s a big no-no! We’ve grown up now!” told a Twitter user on condition of anonymity, “So, where to get all that public opinion? What these channels do, is that they pay people to work their asses off, creating fake accounts on Twitter and Facebook, and then post anything about the topic of the day. When the show is on, all they have to do is to display those posts on the screen!”
India’s first proven fake news TV channel: Meanwhile, CNN-IBN has pipped favourites India TV to become India’s first proven fake news channel. “India TV fakes it but we are unable to prove it — but this braveheart blogger was able to prove CNN-IBN’s fake things today. So, for me, this channel gives fake stuff now!” said Rajsar Deepdesai, a news follower.