Wednesday, 1 February, 2023
E-paper

‘Joke’ Indian tweet lands Pakistan cricketer in fake sexting media storm

‘Joke’ Indian tweet lands Pakistan cricketer in fake sexting media storm

Indian media is awash with articles on how Pakistan cricket captain Babar Azam was allegedly "sexting" another player's girlfriend. The problem: it's false news that originated in a "joke" tweet from a parody account.

Illustrating how misinformation can morph into accepted reality and explode online, as well as the bitter enmity between India and Pakistan, media failed to notice -- or chose to overlook -- that the Twitter account was not meant to be taken seriously.

The person behind the parody account, who remains anonymous, apologised on Twitter to Azam -- who has remained silent throughout -- and attacked what he called India's "clown media".

The original tweet -- which has since been deleted -- by the "Dr. Nimo Yadav" account on January 15 said that Azam had been "sexting with gf (girlfriend) of another Pakistan cricketer".

Not only that, but the player was "promising her that her bf (boyfriend) won't be out of team if she keeps sexting with him... I hope Allah is watching all this", the account tweeted to its more than 27,000 followers.

The tweet carried a purported screenshot of Azam superimposed with a heart, and a video of a topless man in bed resembling the star cricketer. The Twitter account holder said he took the image and video from a since-deactivated Instagram account.

The Twitter handle is marked "Parody account", but that did not stop the tweet from being viewed almost 850,000 times and being sprayed across media in India -- Pakistan's arch-rival on the cricket field and off -- and elsewhere.