Indian Twitter Nexus Spreading Fake Propaganda, Exposed!
Twitter shared 15 datasets of Information operations on August 24, 2022. It removed and identified the platforms with researchers in the Twitter Moderation Research Consortium for Independent analysis. The total number of accounts included in one of the datasets were 1,198 that tweeted about India and Pakistan. The network was suspended by twitter on accounts of violating their Platform Manipulation and Spam Policy, and said that the presumptive country of origin was India. The languages used by the network were English, Urdu, and Hindi. Accounts claimed to be Indian soldiers and proud Kashmiris. Indian Army’s fake projection was carried with criticism on Pakistani and Chinese forces. Some accounts were designated to target the perceived enemies of the Indian government.
No actor has been attributed with this network, and any independent attribution was not made considering the open source evidence. Due to their support of fake propaganda Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook temporarily suspended the accounts of Chinar Corps. The branch of Indian Army operated in Kashmir and needed a fake pinky projection to avoid the radar of Human Rights organizations. Chinar Corps has been found involved in serious human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and that is the reason it desperately needed a platform to save its image Internationally.
According to The Print, twitter had suspended the official Chinar Corps account on June 7, 2019. Indian media outlets including The Indian Express, New Indian Express, and English Jagram in February 2022 reported that the accounts of Chinar corps were suspended by Instagram and Facebook. The reason of suspension was that they posed “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” As per the English Jagram article the source exposed the information was “Army officials.”
The tactics used by the fake accounts was that they worked on three strands one was Anti-India, second was Pro-Indian Army, and third was Anti-China. The Indian Army used fake profiles of Kashmiri Muslims and used Proud Indian & Proud Kashmiri tweets to disseminate propaganda. Most of the accounts claimed to be freelance reporters and used different platforms to project positive news related to Indian Army. Mostly the profiles used fake images as profile photos that is again a criminal offense. The tweets from all the accounts highlighted non-military services provided by the Indian Army. There were fake news about Indian Army providing medical aid and installing security lights in parts of Kashmir.
The other two strands were Anti-Pakistan and Anti-China. Fake accounts worked on instigating violence in Pakistan by asking support for Indian proxies in Balochistan and Pashtun dissents. They also accused Pakistan of spreading unfounded claims of Indian Army atrocities, protecting terrorists, and committing human rights abuses. The network projected the fake narrative that Indian military dominated China’s military. Indian soldiers were made courageous, while Chinese soldiers as cowards in those fictitious propaganda campaigns.
The malicious use of social media platforms to disseminate propaganda is a crime that must be thoroughly investigated and punished. Such ill-use at state level can threaten the strategic stability in the region considering the hybrid dimension of warfare. People must be educated on such malicious attempts so that they cannot be made a part of it.