Donald Trump, the President-elect of the United State of America has used Twitter to air his views that are often politically incorrect and ‘controversial’. Critics have also accused him of sharing wrong information or claims on Twitter just like Arvind Kejriwal does in India.
Taking advantage of this fact, a fake news website trying to pretend that it was CNN – which incidentally was called ‘fake news’ by Donald Trump yesterday – reported that Twitter has decided to delete Trump’s account.
The fake CNN website claimed that Twitter will delete Donald Trump’s account sometime within the next 48 hours because of “Trump’s racist and divisive rhetoric.”
There were enough hints on the fake CNN website that it was fake. Firstly, the layout and style of the website were not even remotely similar to those of the original CNN. Secondly, the fake CNN stood for Carla’s Nice Nunnery, while the original CNN stands for Cable News Network. And thirdly, the domain address was cnn.com.de which is a German domain extension while CNN is an American media company.
Not only that, the report quoted someone named Paul Horner and identified him as spokesperson of Twitter. That was another hint left by the website because Paul Horner is name of a person who runs popular fake news websites and was in the news after Trump’s victory.
Despite such helpful hints that suggested that the website was intended to be fake or at best satirical, some in the Indian media thought it was a legitimate CNN website and the news about Twitter deleting Trump’s account was authentic.
Among those fooled was leading Hindi news channel ABP News – which ironically runs a program called ‘Viral Sach’ that claims to expose fake news circulated on the social media. ABP published the news and tweeted about the same. However, the media company soon realized that it was a fake news when alert users pointed it out:
— Spaminder Bharti (@attomeybharti) January 12, 2017
As a result, ABP News deleted their tweet and also removed the article from their website. Funnily, rather tragically, the report on the ABP’s website linked back to the fake CNN website and thus alert readers could spot that ABP had goofed up big time.
Another media outfit that got fooled by this fake CNN website was Cobrapost – which calls itself a “non profit investigative news portal”. It’s the same website that aired Snoopgate tapes making allegations against BJP leaders Amit Shah and Narendra Modi.
It went a step ahead and declared that Twitter has already deleted Donald Trump’s account:
The report on Cobrapost’s website was not removed till the time this report was published on OpIndia.
So one media organisation that ascertains truth about rumours being spread on social media and another that claims to indulge in high quality investigative journalism – neither of them could investigate and find the truth about a website that gave enough hints that it was fake or satirical.