Using photoshopped or morphed images to show political leaders has become a common yet dangerous trend on social media. Here’s a look at some major fake news and morphed images which floated on social media and were even shared multiple times.
Rahul Gandhi checking out images of women in bikini on his phone
An image of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, checking out women in bikinis on his phone was making its rounds on social media. As reported by Alt News, a Facebook page named Yogi Sarkar posted the image on their page on July 30, 2018. The picture has since then been shared over 12,000 times. Reportedly, another group, Modi Mission 2019 with 1,30,000 members also shared the same image.
Moreover, the image was also shared by one, Manish Pandey, who is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman on Twitter.
फ़ोटो कभी झूट नहीं बोलती… देख लो राहुल गांधी क्या कर रहा है।
After Alt News conducted a reverse image search on google, it was found that the image is actually from November 2016. In the original image, published on Getty Images, Rahul Gandhi can be seen holding currency notes in his hand and not a phone. This photo was clicked during demonetisation.
O.Panneerselvam bows before PM Modi
On July 26, 2018, one Twitter user Suby (@Subytweets) tweeted an image of Tamil Nadu Deputy CM O. Panneerselvam bowing in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The post was also coupled with a caption which refers to the protests which took place during PM Modi’s visit to the state in April 2018. Alt news also found articles in Tamil which have been circulated with the same image.
This picture will break the hearts of the Bravehearts Tamilians who made the most protected guy in India too scared to drive.He had 2 fly on a chopper, break the wall of Madras IIT,when TN trended #gobackmodi .Then this happened. Tamilians & South Indians will be shocked #TNGovt pic.twitter.com/8xwJV0A6Sp
— Suby (@Subytweets) July 26, 2018
After the fake news busting website did a reverse image Google search, they found a February 2018 article published on NDTV. The article had images which appear to have the same background as in the picture that had been shared by the twitter user. Reportedly, the photo was taken by Press Information Bureau(PIB), a nodal government agency when the two met in December 2016. Alt News found a couple of pictures from the same event, but not the one where the Deputy CM was seen bowing to the Prime Minister.
— PIB India (@PIB_India) December 19, 2016
When they typed the keywords, “O. Panneerselvam Bows” in Google, images of him bowing in front of Former Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa popped up. The picture with the PM has been photoshopped.
Spot the difference between Hitler and Modi
On July 24, IPS Officer Sanjiv Bhatt shared a side-by-side image of Adolf Hitler and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both holding a child’s ears in the respective pics. The photo captioned as “Spot the difference” was shared over 1800 times as well.
Spot the difference. pic.twitter.com/yI1fyIOdos
— Sanjiv Bhatt (IPS) (@sanjivbhatt) July 25, 2018
According to Alt News, a reverse image search of Hitler’s photo on Google suggests that Hitler isn’t holding the girl’s ears but is resting his hands on her shoulder. Moreover, the fake news busting website also mentioned how PM Modi’s hands seem to be a reverse photoshop of Hitler’s hands.
Dr Manmohan Singh awarded the ‘Strongest PM in the world’
A website, Viral In India, managed by an ‘RTI activist’, Abhishek Mishra on June 16, published a report with the caption “मोदी नहीं, मनमोहन सिंह को मिला सबसे शक्तिशाली पीएम का अवार्ड, पढ़िए खबर” (Not Modi, Manmohan Singh receives award for strongest PM in the world, read the report).
The article further says that Japan has honoured him with the most prominent national award, ‘The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers’. Subsequently, more websites like Desh Yug and Headline24 also published the same news story with slightly different titles. Atl News found that not only was this article shared on Facebook and Twitter by many individuals, but even Chandigarh Congress shared the same story on their twitter feed.
मेरे बाद जमाना मुझे याद करेगा…https://t.co/LO95CrgwT8
— Chandigarh Congress (@INCChandigarh) July 29, 2018
Alt News found out that Viral In India talked about a rare civilian honour that Dr Manmohan Singh was conferred with is not recent. In fact, he was awarded the same in 2014. It was also reported by Indian media houses back in 2014. According to an article by The Hindu, “A statement by the Japanese Embassy said Dr Singh “will be bestowed [the honour] in recognition of his significant contributions to the enhancement of relations and the promotion of friendship between Japan and India for about 35 years.”
However, Headline24 ran the same article with the title “strong” or “capable” PM was nowhere to be found in the original articles.
Creating or sharing fake news is never justified. We have a responsibility to verify everything that we post on the internet. To ensure that our national debate is healthy and well-informed, each and every one of us has a responsibility of treating what we read with a pinch of salt, a spoonful of doubt, and a flood of research.
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