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HomeHashtag ScannerAn Exposé of Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi’s numerous fake accounts

An Exposé of Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi’s numerous fake accounts

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On Saturday, September 18,2021 tensions rose within the Punjab wing of the Indian National Congress. Months before state elections, a tussle between CM Capt. Amarinder Singh and others within the party grew. Rumours started to flow out that Singh is going to resign soon and soon enough on the same day, Singh handed in his resignation to the Governor citing the reason that,”I feel humiliated.. this is the third meeting of MLAs.. I have resigned. I spoke to the Congress president today morning and said I will resign today.”

This came as a shock to many owing to just how close the elections are. Within two days, Congress was ready with their new candidate, Charanjit Singh Channi, the first Dalit Sikh to rule the state. Channi was the minister of Technical Education and Training under Capt. Singh. He was also the leader of Opposition in the Punjab Legislative Assembly.

His selection made national news and various hashtags related to his selection were trending on Twitter. Since Channi’s own account was not verified by Twitter till September 21,2021 around 6:00 PM, we noticed that this led to the creation of many accounts that were pretending to be Channi.

Here we provide you of an analysis of this phenomenon:

  • A total of 39 accounts were created which were posing as Channi.
  • 11 handles were created between the period of August 2021 to September 2021
  • 3 accounts were deleted and one was suspended.
  • Some accounts had a suspicious link to a website that was created in the name of Channi.
  • 10 accounts were renamed
  • These fake accounts were followed by 74 verified accounts.
  • 39 Accounts were created

Up till this piece was written a total of 39 accounts were created using Channi’s name since at least 2014. Though the earlier accounts were something along the lines of fan accounts, the later ones were simply impersonations of him .

  • 11 handles created recently

As per our data, 11 handles were created between August 2021 and September 2021 that were completely trying to impersonate Channi. Click on the usernames below to visit the archive links.

  1. CharanjitSCINC
  2. charanjits_ing
  3. Charanjitchinni
  4. PawanKu64993768
  5. Charanjit_chinn
  6. CharanjitlNC
  7. charanjitINCPun
  8. CChanniINC
  9. CharanjitSghMLA
  10. charanjitpunja
  11. CSinghChanniCM
  • Accounts deleted and suspended

Out of these 39 accounts, we noted that 3 accounts were mysteriously deleted and one account got suspended.

  • Accounts had a common suspicious link

5 accounts of these fake accounts had a mysterious link that when opened led to a website without any information leading us to believe that they have simply purchased the domain for a bigger operation that has not begun yet.

  • Accounts with greater audience changed their usernames

Upon detailed research, we found that at least 10 accounts changed their username to reflect that they were Channi. These accounts very cleverly gained followers and their username and display name to different variations of Charanjit Singh Channi, retaining their followers to attract more legitimacy.

  • Accounts were followed by many verified handles

Some of the accounts were followed by 74 verified twitter handles with massive followers. Ex MLA Hari Shanker Gupta was following 3 of the Channi fake accounts. National Coordinator of INC, Manoj Mehta also followed 3 of the fake accounts. Piyush Mishra was also following 3 of the fake accounts.

This analysis goes to show that the fact that Channi’s personal account was not verified, people took advantage of this fact and created a host of other accounts in order to impersonate him. As soon as Channi’s account was verified, many changed their usernames again or simply deleted their accounts too. Several of these accounts were followed by verified blue ticked handles and one fake account was event tagged in a tweet by NDTV.

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