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Fake Account of Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu Misleads Hundreds of Verified Accounts

The Win of Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu

On December 13th, 21 years old, Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu was declared the winner of the 70th edition of the beauty pageant and returned home with the title of Miss Universe 2021. The crown of Miss Universe came to India after 21 long years. The last Miss Universe from India was Lara Dutta in 2000.

After the win of Harnaaz Sandhu, many people came forward to congratulate her on social media platforms. Many blue tick handles also tweeted on Twitter congratulating and wishing Harnaaz for her amazing win and bringing the crown back home to India.

In the midst of this, it was found that people were tagging an account of Harnaaz Sandhu which goes by the username of @HarnaazSandhu03. People were mentioning this account in their tweet to wish and congratulate Harnaaz for her success. But is this the real twitter account of Miss Universe 2021, Harnaaz Sandhu?

Story Behind the Account of @HarnaazSandhu03

@HarnaazSandhu03 is not the real account of the Miss Universe 2021, Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu. This account is a fake account whose name and username got changed so that the account can gain more attention and followers on the social media platform Twitter.

The account of @HarnaazSandhu03 is archived and can be found in here

This account was previously running with the name of María Alejandra López Pérez using username @malopezpz.

Archived Twitter Account of María Alejandra López Pérez

The User-id of both the accounts are found to be same which clearly tells that these accounts are not different but same.  In the social media platform Twitter, user id is the key which is unique for every user and no user can change it. Twitter uses this id to uniquely identify users on the platform. The platform gives us the liberty to change or alter our name and username but not the user id as if it is once assigned cannot be changed.

Therefore, this account changed its username from @malopezpz to @HarnaazSandhu03 to gain followers and attention to the account.

Twitter Account

Now this account of @HarnaazSandhu03 doesn’t exist.

Who All Fell for The Trap?

After the win of Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu, Twitter flooded with tweets of people wishing and praising Harnaaz for her success. There were many people who fell in the trap and mentioned @HarnaazSandhu03 and even followed the account. On 13th Dec at 07:41 the account had 30,800 followers. In less than a day, this account gained more than 37,000 followers reaching to 67,200 followers on 14th Dec at 01:42.

Over 10,000 tweets were made tagging this fake account of @HarnaazSandhu03 within 12th Dec to 13th Dec 2021.

More than 8,500 unique users tagged or mentioned this account and fell in the trap of believing a fake account to be a real one. The graph below shows us who were those accounts who mentioned @HarnaazSandhu03 maximum number of times. @missuniverseof mentioned the account mostly by 24 times. Followed by @Almivillavega and @Derlys_Sparling by 17 and 16 times respectively.

Verified accounts were also found wishing Harnaaz Sandhu and congratulating her for her success. Many of them mentioned this fake handle @HarnaazSandhu03 believing it to be a real account of Harnaaz Sandhu.

More than 270 verified Twitter handles mentioned this account and fell for the trap. Some big verified handles include @harbhajan_singh, @RajatSharmaLive, @ShashiTharoor, @thesushmitasen, @LaraDutta, @FOXTV. Many news media handles also mentioned this account like, @IndiaToday, @ZeeNewsEnglish, @indiatvnews, @AmarUjalaNews, etc. Even UP Police (@Uppolice) and Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) also fell for the trap and mentioned the wrong and fake account.

Changing the username to @HarnaazSandhu03 surely helped the fake account to gain loads of followers and attention in the social media platform under a very less time. But this act of identity theft is not at all as it misleads people and society.