Networking sites exploit top Indian politicians

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Old 10-Feb-2011
Networking sites exploit top Indian politicians

New Delhi: Social networking sites have emerged as a nuisance for some top leaders of the country, especially those belonging to the ruling Congress party.

Facebook, which claims to have more than 500 million users worldwide, has dozens of accounts in the name of the Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi. His pictures complete with his bio-data, and his address and telephone numbers are listed along with those of his followers running into hundreds of thousands.

But, none of them are real, since, if his close aides are to be believed, Rahul is not active on any of the social networking sites.

The situation is no different as far as his mother Sonia Gandhi, president of the Congress party, is concerned. There are accounts dedicated to Rahul's sister Priyanka Gandhi or for that matter the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Confusion and chaos

However, unlike Twitter, which has a system to authenticate real accounts of celebrities, Facebook is yet to come up with any such technology, creating confusion and chaos in cyberland.

The Indian Youth Congress, which is under the direct charge of Rahul, has instructed its IT department to track those running accounts on its leader Rahul Gandhi's name and at the same time written to the Facebook management to close down all such fake accounts. A picture of Rahul's great grandfather Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, was posted on one such fake account of Rahul on Facebook on Tuesday in which Nehru is shown lighting a cigarette.

The caption reads: This is real Jawaharlal Nehru… a chain smoker… he was the man who let India [to] be partitioned."


One such account on Twitter with Rahul's caricature identifies itself as Owl Gandhi. However, many of them seem to be operated by his real admirers in his name as they just upload his speeches, photographs and news clips taken from various television channels.

One such fake account of Sonia Gandhi on Facebook lists her profession as hair artist, make-up artist, fashion and has provided a link to a website. Apparently, someone involved with the profession is using Sonia to promote that website.

There is one Twitter account in the name of the "Father of the Nation" Mahatma Gandhi as well and it lists his location as somewhere in the stars, while one of the many Facebook accounts of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lists him as an actor and director.

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