After a lull of almost a year, IRCTC was once again in the cross-hairs of the fake news industry. Last year, multiple media houses reported a story claiming that IRCTC’s site was hacked and personal data of around 1 crore users was feared to be robbed. IRCTC had then clarified on the same day with a detailed press release explaining how they had checked their systems and found no evidence of any hacking whatsoever. Further, the Ministry from its Twitter handle explained that such news was common for the past 2-3 years and was most probably based on some people selling 1 crore email ids and phone numbers, claiming that they have obtained the same from IRCTC.
This year, at least the kind of fake news is different. On 22nd September, Indian Express ran a story titled: “Booking train ticket on IRCTC? Railways restricts card payment to these six banks”:
Within hours, IRCTC swung into action and denied the news report. This was necessary since such news of certain banks being blocked by IRCTC could have caused panic among IRCTC’s customers:
No Debit/Credit Card of any bank has been restricted by IRCTC 4 acceptance on any of Gateways as has been misrepresented by some of the news pic.twitter.com/Wjm51sWKvD
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) September 22, 2017
IRCTC did not stop there and sent a detailed letter to the Editor at the Financial Express, since the report by the Indian Express, was sourced from Financial Express:
The letter stated that IRCTC had offered seven payment gateways for accepting domestic debit/credit cards and had not imposed any restrictions. It further stated that no debit or credit card of any bank has been restricted for usage on any of the gateways and this can be verified by a third-party audit. It said cards of any Indian bank can be accepted on any of the seven payment gateways. In addition to this, the note said, direct integration has been provided for some banks. But since this became an additional cost, IRCTC had asked the banks to share a part of the transaction fee. But the note said IRCTC has since forfeited this fee, asking the banks to share the same with customers.
Further, IRCTC also stated that the media report had claimed that an email sent to IRCTC had remained unanswered, but the fact was that not a single email was received by the PR department for clarification on this issue. It asked the media house to issue a clarification that the original report was “misleading and false”.
In response, Indian Express updated the story and has now changed the headline totally:
The rest of the article now contains snippets from IRCTC’s clarification, and the original report is all but gone from the internet.