News agency Asian News International (ANI) filed a police complaint on Tuesday against a photoshopped tweet about Prime Minister Narendra Modi that was wrongly attributed to their official Twitter handle.
ANI files police complaint with Delhi Police, Economic Offences Wing, & Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police regarding the photoshopped tweet.— ANI (@ANI_news) April 14, 2015
The tweet in question featured a 'quote' from the Prime Minister, who is currently on tour in Germany, and created a furore on Twitter. It quotes Modi as saying, "My love for Germany goes decades back. When I was a small boy in Guj my only friend was a German Shephard (sic)" with the hashtag #ModiInGermany.
However, later in the day, ANI's official handle tweeted out a clarification and threatened legal action against the person behind the mischief. As of Tuesday evening, the identity of this person is still unknown. However, according to user @kapsology, the first known instance of this tweet appeared on the timeline of a user named @SahuSKNT allegedly via another user named @MehekF. The latter has has since deleted the post.
This is a photoshopped tweet. ANI has got nothing to do with it. Legal action will be taken against those responsible pic.twitter.com/CZcWnFJgX8— ANI (@ANI_news) April 14, 2015
It is unclear when it all started but the tweet got noticed majorly when user @JoyDas, who posted it around noon on Tuesday, shared it and became the first person to cast suspicion upon the tweet.
Guys, i believe this is just a Joke. Someone photoshopped it. pic.twitter.com/G7M38TLT7M— Joy (@Joydas) April 14, 2015
This tweet circulated around for a while and was also tweeted by another user, @AnkitLal, during the day. Eventually, Smita Prakash, News Editor at ANI, confirmed that it was a fake tweet, blaming @AnkitLal for the photoshop job.
This led to an open exchange between the two.
.@smitaprakash the image was not created by me. It has been circulating online for a while. Deleted it after I realized it was fake,— Ankit Lal (@ankitlal) April 14, 2015
.@smitaprakash, the kind of things Modi ji is speaking on tour I didn't find the statement exceptional. That's why tweeted without verifying— Ankit Lal (@ankitlal) April 14, 2015
.@smitaprakash However I do realize that I should have verified the authenticity of the Tweet which I didn't and my apologies fr it.— Ankit Lal (@ankitlal) April 14, 2015
An hour later, it was made clear by a third person that @AnkitLal wasn't responsible for it as his tweet had appeared after the one put out by @JoyDas.
But the furore had already grown big by then. Meanwhile, news website FirstPost put out a story on the fracas...
Fail! ANI links Modi’s love for Germany to German shepherds, later claims tweet was photoshopped http://t.co/ZJqHzSLzOh— Firstpost (@firstpost) April 14, 2015
... to which Prakash responded indignantly.
. @firstpost are you daft or plain stupid? Wonder if you put an apology after legal action or after egg on your face! That is a fake tweet— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) April 14, 2015
FirstPost responded by changing the headline, but the damage seemed to have been done by then, and the exchange turned into an all-out verbal duel.
Now this so called News website says its photoshopped. https://t.co/kky8ZNyHLJ— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) April 14, 2015
@firstpost apologise you dunces!— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) April 14, 2015
At this point, Lakshmi Chaudhry, executive editor at FirstPost, responded with equal indignation.
@smitaprakash Apologise? We are saying someone has photoshopped an ANI twitter handle to create a fake tweet. The copy also makes it clear— Lakshmi Chaudhry (@ElChaudhry) April 14, 2015
While Chaudhry admitted that the original headline was sloppy, she clarified that the copy did not attribute the blame to ANI and had therefore been left unchanged.