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Twiplomacy Did Not Conduct Any Study To Determine Fake Followers Among World Leaders in 2018

Twiplomacy in their 2018 tweet, simply shared an infographic taken from @GZEROmedia which shows the percent of fake followers of five world leaders.

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Claim 

A 2018 New Indian Express news report claims that according to a then-recent study by the digital platform, Twiplomacy, 60 percent of PM Narendra Modi’s Twitter followers are fake. We received a link to this news report on our Whatsapp number asking for verification. 

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/mar/14/60-per-cent-of-pm-narendra-modis-twitter-followers-are-fake-twiplomacy-1786939.html

Interestingly, we found this 2018 article being shared on Twitter by many people in the past week. Some of these people are sharing an image from the news report showing the number of fake followers by top world leaders including the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

This news is being circulated by Facebook users in the past week as well. 

Factcheck

As a starting point, let’s note that the New Indian Express story linked to the claim is from 2018. The news report states that a then-recent study by Twiplomacy revealed that 60 percent of PM Narendra Modi’s Twitter followers are fake. It also included that “24,799,527 of Modi’s 40,993,053 followers are fake ones while 16,191,426 are authentic ones.”

Ongoing through studies done in 2018 by Twiplomacy, a digital platform that helps governments and international organisations improve their digital strategy, we couldn’t find any study that included data on fake Twitter followers of top global leaders. 

Although the New Indian Express included a tweet by Twiplomacy which shows that PM Narendra Modi had 60 percent, fake followers, on Twitter. The tweet in its description states that the said fake followers are determined by twitteraudit.com. The tweet doesn’t mention any study done by Twiplomacy to arrive at numbers on fake followers. Below is the tweet in context: 

A 2018 news report by The Week also detailed PM Modi’s fake followers on Twitter. The difference being that this report doesn’t claim that a Twiplomacy study revealed data on PM Modi’s fake following instead it simply states that the digital platform used TwitterAudit to determine the number of fake followers amongst the world leaders. 

https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2018/03/13/modi-has-more-fake-followers-than-donald-trump-on-twitter.html

We got in touch with Twiplomacy who confirmed with us that the February 2018 tweet which includes an infographic about world leaders and their fake Twitter followers was taken from the @GZEROmedia Signal newsletter. You can read their response to us below:

“In February 2018 we shared this tweet with the infographic which was taken  from the @GZEROmedia Signal newsletter showing an analysis from http://Twitteraudit.com. We did not conduct the analysis but simply shared the infographic and somehow the Indian media picked it up claiming we did the analysis…” 

We also wrote to the New Indian Express asking for clarification on the study they referred to in their news report. We haven’t received a response from them yet. We’ll update their response here if we hear from them. 

Conclusion

Twiplomacy did not conduct any study to determine fake Twitter followers among world leaders. In their 2018 tweet, they simply shared an infographic taken from @GZEROmedia which shows the percent of fake followers of five world leaders as well as Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian’s Twitter following for comparison sakes. 

Tools Used

  • Google advanced search
  • Twitter advanced search 

Result: False 

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Video Of Man Urging Muslim Community To Increase Representation Is Not Himalaya’s Founder

Himalaya Drug Company’s founder M Manal passed away in 1986. Man in the viral video is Naqi Ahmed Nadwi, administrator at Maaden, Riyadh.

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Naqi Ahmed Nadwi's video shared as founder of Himalaya

A video of a man speaking in Urdu and encouraging the Muslim community to increase their representation in professions such as administrative services, health department, judiciary, and others has been shared by many social media users recently. 

Users have claimed the man in the video to be the owner of the Himalayan Drug Company, Mohammed Manal. These claims also advise people against the use of Himalaya products. 

One such example of the claim reads, “We are all proud of Indian ‘Himalayan Drug Company’ but see the mentality of it’s owner Mohammed Manal and think twice before using the products.”

You can read similar claims with the 44-second video below. 

Fact Check/ Verification

Using keyframes from the video, we did a reverse search on Yandex.com. This led us to a Youtube video in which the same man was seen speaking on CAA and NRC. A Google search of keywords from this video led us to Naqi Ahmed Nadwi’s Facebook page—the man speaking in the video

On 22 August, Nadwi posted a video on his Facebook page with an Urdu caption:

 بابری مسجد کا انہدام اوراسکی جگہ پر رام مندر کا قیام تاریخ ہند کا ایک ایسا موڑ ہے جس کے بارے میں مسلمانوں کو سنجیدگی سے غور کرنا ہوگا!

It translates to, “The demolition of Babri Masjid and the establishment of Ram Mandir in its place is a twist in the history of India which Muslims must consider seriously!” 

The video clip included in the initial claim was taken from this 12-minute video by Nadwi. You can watch the clip from the 11:54 timestamp. 

As per Nadwi’s LinkedIn profile, he is an Administrator at Maaden CEO Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

Naqi Ahmed Nadwi’s LinkedIn profile

Founder of Himalaya

An image of Himalaya Drug Company’s founder, M Manal posted on the company’s website clearly shows he is not the same man as claimed in the initial tweets. Also, M Manal passed away in 1986. The current CEO of the company is Philipe Haydon.

Photograph of M Manal, Founder of Himalaya Drug Company on its website
Photograph of M Manal, Founder of Himalaya Drug Company on its website

On 27 September, the company tweeted a clarification on the claim calling it baseless rumours.

Conclusion 

Tweets claiming the video of a man urging the Muslim community to increase their representation in sectors such as police force, to be the founder of Himalaya Drug Company are misleading. The man in the video is Naqi Ahmed Nadwi, Administrator at Maaden CEO Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

Result: Misleading 

Our Sources

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mtqEf5FeFg

Naqi Ahmed Nadwi’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Naqi-Ahmed-Nadwi-Page-105822587910985

Naqi Ahmed Nadwi’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/naqi-ahmed-nadwi-64b32446/

Himalaya Drug Company: https://himalayawellness.in/pages/our-story

Himalaya Global Holdings: http://www.himalayaglobalholdings.com/abouthimalaya/milestones.htm

Himalaya CEO Philipe Haydon: https://www.linkedin.com/in/philipe-haydon-46b13515/?originalSubdomain=in

Himalaya India: https://twitter.com/HimalayaIndia/status/1310136642380861440?s=20

Prathmesh Kunt contributed towards research for this fact check. 


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PM Modi’s 2017 Ro-Ro Ferry Initiative Shared With Braemar Cruise Video From Greece

PM Modi’s 2017 Ro-Ro ferry initiative was suspended due to dredging issues in Dahej last year.

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PM Modi’s 2017 Ro-Ro Ferry Initiative Shared With Braemar Cruise Video From Greece

A Twitter user claims that the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi started a ferry service connecting Bhavnagar and Bharuch districts in Gujarat. It further claims the distance between the districts is 350km by road and 32km by sea. It is accompanied by a 59-second video which shows a cruise ship passing through a narrow waterway. 

The tweet aims to appreciate PM Modi’s initiative to reduce travel time between the two districts, while also claiming the ship’s capacity to hold 50 trucks, 60 buses, 200 cars, 350 motorcycles and 600 people at once. 

Posted on 28 September, the tweet written in Hindi when translated reads, “Bhavnagar to Bharuch road has a distance of 350 kilometers, and by sea route it is 32 kilometers, and by this sea route, the Prime Minister has started a service by the ship. The capacity of this ship is 50 trucks, 60 buses, 200 cars at once. 350 motorcycles, 600 people, and time in just half an hour”

Other social media users have shared similar claims. 

Fact Check/ Verification

Through a reverse image search of the claim (tweet) on InVid, a video verification tool, we came across an October 2019 tweet by @Amazing_Greece which reads, “MS Braemar is the largest ship which has been through the Canal of Corinth #Greece

Taking cue from this we did a keyword (ms braemar corinth canal) search on Google which led us to an October 2019 Youtube video. Posted by the account Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines the video’s description reads, Braemar cruising through the Corinth Canal.”

Fred Olsen’s video shows keyframes similar to the video in the claim. It also shows the same surrounding scenic views of the Corinth Canal. Located in Greece, this canal is one of the oldest man-made canals in the world. 

The Telegraph UK published an article on it in October 2019 titled, “The inside story of a record-breaking cruise through the Corinth Canal – a journey that was two years in the planning.” As did the Daily Mail UK

PM Modi’s Ro-Ro Ferry Initiative

As for the other part of the claim which says PM Modi started a ship service connecting Bhavnagar and Bharuch districts in Gujarat, it is true, but old news. 

In October 2017, PM Modi inaugurated the first phase of Roll-On-Roll-off (Ro-Ro) ferry service between Bharuch’s Dahej and Bhavnagar’s Ghogha. This was just weeks before the state assembly elections. 

As per a video shared by PM Modi in 2017, this ferry would reduce travel time between the districts from eight hours to one hour (360km to 31km). Further, the ferry vessel shall transport 70-80 trucks or 100 light-weight motor vehicles with 500 passengers. You can read other tweets by PM Modi on the same occasion here

After the ferry was suspended due to dredging issues in Dahej,  the Adani firm recently won the bid to provide Ro-Ro ferry service between Hazira in Surat and Ghoga in Bhavnagar district. 

Conclusion

Our research makes it clear that the ferry service connecting Bhavnagar and Bharuch districts in Gujarat is not a new or recent initiative. Also contrary to the distance claimed, the Ro-Ro ferry reduced it from 360km to 31km. The ferry’s capacity figures are misleading as well. Finally, the accompanying video is in fact of the Braemar cruise in Corinth Canal, Greece. 

Result: Misleading

Our Sources

Amazing Greece: https://twitter.com/Amazing_Greece/status/1182560844762308608?s=20

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPkrmTELao8

Marine Insight: https://www.marineinsight.com/know-more/the-corinthian-canal-a-narrow-man-made-shipping-canal/

The Telegraph UK: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/articles/corinth-canal-largest-cruise-ship-braemar/

Daily Mail: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7563541/Biggest-cruise-ship-squeeze-Corinth-Canal-Greece-makes-just-3ft-spare.html

Financial Express: https://www.financialexpress.com/photos/business-gallery/901833/narendra-modi-gujarat-visit-pm-inaugrates-ghogha-dahej-ro-ro-ferry-service-in-bhavnagar-see-spectacular-photos/5/

Times of India: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/pm-modi-inaugurates-his-dream-project/articleshow/61177505.cms

PM Narendra Modi: https://twitter.com/search q=ghogha%20dahej%20ferry%20(from%3Anarendramodi)&src=typeahead_click

Indian Express: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/adani-firm-wins-ro-ro-terminal-bid-for-hazira-offers-lease-of-rs-1-month-6489009/


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Fact check

2016 Video Of A Siren Shared With Misleading Claims Related To Ongoing India-China Dispute In Ladakh

The video in context was posted on Youtube in 2016 with the description, “The largest air-raid siren in the world.”

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2016 video of a defender siren shared with misleading claims

A Twitter user claimed that the Chinese army used a loudspeaker at the Indian military camp in Ladakh causing vomiting and injury to the ear drums of Indian soldiers. The tweet is accompanied by a 30-second video which shows a rotating siren with blaring sound. 

Posted from the Twitter handle @ichinaTV on 24 September, the tweet reads, “#china #India The Chinese army uses this super loud speaker to play music at the Indian military camp in Ladakh! A large number of Indian soldiers’ eardrums were injured and vomiting”

The same user retweeted the above tweet on 28 September writing, “Because China and India have signed an agreement to prohibit the use of guns within two kilometers of LAC! Therefore, China has developed this sonic weapon. The video is only a low-power display, and the actual volume and audio are more intense!”

Fact Check/ Verification 

Through a reverse image search on InVid, a video verification tool, we came across a Youtube video titled, “LIONKING Defender Siren” posted in March, 2016. 

InVid search result of "Lion King Defender Siren"
InVid search result of “Lion King Defender Siren”

The video was published by an account named Elsa Chen and has over 47 lakh views till date. It’s description reads, “The largest air-raid siren in the world. Produced by Taizhou LionKing Signal Co.,Ltd. websites: http://www.lionking-firerescue.com. Email: elsa@lionking-firerescue.com

The link in the video’s description led us to a website named Lion King. According to the website, “Taizhou Lion King Signal Co., Ltd. is a professional company specialized in making various sirens, rescue air cushions, PPV blowers,Smoke Ejectors and Line throwers.”

Listed in the products section of the website, a product called “Defender Siren” looked similar to the one from the claim. 

Defender Siren, a product by Taizhou Lion King Signal Co., Ltd.
Defender Siren, a product by Taizhou Lion King Signal Co., Ltd.

The video from the claim was shared by another user in September, 2017 though with a different audio in the background. 

The claim in context was shared days after Chinese troops played Punjabi songs at their forward posts in Ladakh amid the ongoing territorial dispute. At the time, the Indian soldiers were known to be at Finger 4, a height overlooking the positions of the Peoples Liberation Army. 

On 17 September, Hindustan Times reported that “according to a former Indian Army chief, the PLA used the same loudspeaker tactics in 1962 skirmishes in the western and eastern sectors as well during the 1967 Nathu La skirmish.” 

You can read our Hindi fact check on this claim here

Conclusion 

Our research makes it clear that the Chinese army did not use a loudspeaker at the Indian military camp in Ladakh recently. The video in the claim is from 2016 and shows a product called Defender Siren.

Result: Misleading

Our Sources

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrSSArQoFWc

Lion King-FireRescue website: http://www.lionking-firerescue.com/


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