SSR case: Mumbai police identify 50k more fake social media accounts created to defame state govt

Police said the numbers of such fake accounts have now crossed over 1.5 lakh. The accused used a paid program and proxy servers to remain anonymous and divert eyes of law enforcement agencies.
Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By Suraj Ojha | Edited by Sparshita Saxena
UPDATED ON NOV 04, 2020 01:21 AM IST
File photo: Late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.(Waseem Gashroo/Hindustan Times)

Soon after Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, many social media accounts surfaced and started trending negative sentiments against the Maharashtra government, Mumbai Police and even maligned the image of commissioner of police, Param Bir Singh.

Mumbai Police in their investigation have found 50,000 more such social media accounts used for defaming police and the government.

Police said the numbers of such fake accounts have now crossed over 1.5 lakh. The accused used a paid program and proxy servers to remain anonymous and divert eyes of law enforcement agencies.

In a press release, the police said that many accounts trended negative sentiments about state government, Mumbai Police and the Commissioner of Police using different hashtags. Many fake Twitter accounts were created by impersonating popular personalities like Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon.

“During the investigation, we found that these fake accounts are controlled by a “BOT”. A single BOT program, which is a commercial tool and used for negative trending, has the power of 500 tweets/retweets per request and a huge capacity of 5 million tweets per month. These are paid programs which have the power to tweet in any language and can be executed from any part of the world using proxy server to remain anonymous,” the release stated.

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According to the release, a team of cyber and forensic experts submitted the report. The report has been generated using artificial intelligence and machine learning for the analysis of hashtags and related accounts which were created or surfaced between June 2020 and October 2020 to trend against dignified personalities.

A team of cyber experts found more 1.5 lakh accounts during the technical investigation. Almost 80 percent of these accounts were suspicious as they were majorly making negative tweets and comments and their activities surprisingly showcased a drastic leap in the number of tweets per day, number of followers, a feat quite difficult for a genuine individual user to achieve.

“At present, many accounts are trying to disappear. Many of them are deleting the negative posts, comments and tweets to evade the investigation process. A major percentage of the accounts are operating outside India in countries like China, Panama and Nepal,” the release added.

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