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HomeFact CheckJuhi Chawla, Shashi Tharoor and others Fall for Harnaaz Sandhu’s Imposter Twitter...

Juhi Chawla, Shashi Tharoor and others Fall for Harnaaz Sandhu’s Imposter Twitter Account

It was a proud moment for India as 21-year-old Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu brought home the third Miss Universe crown. But as celebrities and leaders took to the social media to congratulate the new Miss Universe, many made the same error- tagging an imposter.

Harnaaz Sandhu, from Punjab, beat Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira and South Africa’s Lalela  Mswane to become the Miss Universe at the 70th Miss Universe 2021 pageant held in Eilat, Israel, 21 years after Lara Dutta won the title for India in 2000.

Harnaaz Sandhu is active on Instagram and shares posts and updates on her verified page @Harnaazsandhu_03 regularly. When one searches for Harnaaz Sandhu on Twitter, the top result shows a page with the same handle @HarnaazSandhu03. The page has 45.4k followers and is regularly updated, giving it some impression of authenticity, expalining why these public figures mistook this to be Sandhu’s original account.

Fact Check/Verification  

Newschecker searched Twitter for user @Harnaazsandhu03 and checked its interactions with other users on the social media platform. Newschecker found that the account did not have any tweets relating to Harnaaz before November 1,  2021. The tweets from 2017 to September 2021 are generic in terms of content and few in number.

Harnaaz Sandhu twitter profile
The profile tagged by celebrities and leaders believing to be Harnaaz Sandhu

Further, when Newschecker checked the ‘likes’ section, we came across a tweet which referred to user @malopezpz. You can find an archived copy of the tweet here.

On searching for the handle on Twitter, we come across several tweets that mention Harnaaz Sandhu. Further, by the nature of the tweets, we also understand that most tweets that mention Sandhu come from threads that have now been deleted, hence not available on Harnaaz’s profile. We further investigated the tweets that mention  @malopezpz and came across an archived version of a tweet by the profile @malopezpz. We find that @malopezpz earlier shared content relating to Columbian model María Alejandra López Pérez, before they were deleted. You can see an archived copy of the tweet here. María Alejandra López Pérez contested for the title of Miss Universe Colombia but eventually lost to Valeria Maria Ayos Bossa.

We also find that most of the tweets that interacted with the handle @malopezpz are in Spanish, thus confirming our findings.

Another tweet that is in reply to Harnaaz Sandhu, but tagged @malopezpz

Conclusion

We find that the twitter handle @malopezpz changed the name of the handle to @Harnaazsandhu03 and posted content relating to Harnaaz Sandhu. The account @Harnaazsandhu03 is hence an imposter account, which was tagged by celebrities and leaders while congratulating Harnaaz Sandhu.

Result: Imposter Content 

Sources

Twitter

Wayback machine


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Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.
Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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