On 8th December within almost hours of the tragic helicopter crash which killed Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife, and 12 others, accounts of social media connected to Pakistan began to spread conspiracy theories, a UK-based tech company with counter-disinformation analysts has stated.
The main aim of the disinformation campaign: which certainly blamed insurgents of Tamil Nadu to militia groups of Nagaland and even China as well- as to claim that the crash was not an accident and that there was a plot made to kill Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat.
The trend of accounts pushed to provide wrong information by Pakistan as a result of domestic incidents in India is becoming very common, the tech firm Logically.AI stated in its report.
Its investigations presented that many Twitter accounts, apparently from Pakistan, have increased versions of these conspiracy theories.
A tri-service enquiry into the incident is certainly on and is being led by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh who is the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Training Command.
Among the most famous conspiracy theory was that the helicopter which was being shot down by “Tamil Rebels”, a term which is used to refer to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or the LTTE, a group which has been solely inactive since it was defeated in 2009 by the Sri Lankan Army.
“The narrative has been driven primarily by Pakistan-based accounts, apparently to take advantage of the existence of pro-Tamil Eelam sympathisers in the state of Tamil Nadu”, the report stated.
BIGGEST RETWEETS FROM PAKISTAN
A Gephi network analysis by the company presents a bot network of more than 480 accounts that attempts to amplify narratives about Tamil Rebels being certainly responsible for the crash.
The report stated that Logically.AI’s analysis of top accounts found out that they were all from Pakistan.
“One of the main retweeters, an account called @guldassta, is known to tweet at least 244 times in a day at almost the same times each day, which is indicative of automated activity,” it stated. It further added that Pakistan has been known to use social media to target its adversaries and go ahead with its political agenda.
Logically.AI had uncovered before a disinformation network that is based in Pakistan spreading polarizing narratives about the Mizoram-Assam border clashes early in July this year.
In June 2021, Meta (previously Facebook) stated that it has taken down 40 Facebook accounts, 25 pages, six groups, and 28 Instagram accounts that are based in Pakistan.
A report by Graphika which is a research firm that studies misinformation and analyses manipulation of social networks, stated: “Key narratives advanced by the network included: Praise for Pakistan and its armed forces; efforts to denigrate India and highlight attacks by Hindu nationalists targeting religious minorities; support for Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan; and promotion of the government-backed China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) investment project.”