A fake Twitter handle has been at the centre of a controversy after everyone assumed it was an authentic Twitter presence of the new Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel.
The handle @UrjitPatel_ has been deleted by Twitter but as of two days ago, it was very gracious in accepting Twitterati's torrent of congratulatory greetings. The RBI was quick to deny that Patel does not own the handle.
The fake handle was opened in June this year and had only one tweet and followed only one other handle before Saturday -- that of The Reserve Bank of India, but had had acquired several fans – at least 10,000 – until the Twitter handle got deleted.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was among the first people to congratulate the Twitter handle just hours after his appointment was officially announced on Saturday ending weeks of rumours on who would succeed outgoing RBI governor Raghuram Rajan.
Jaitley and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted along with fans:
Congratulations to @UrjitPatel_ on being appointed as Governor of RBI. 1/2— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) August 20, 2016
The fake Patel account replied with a courteous: "Thank you everyone for your warm wishes! I will give my best to live up to the expectation of people."
To be fair, it was easy to fall for the impostor Twitter handle. It had a serious photo of Patel in a brown suit and a blue tie, with a bio description that was brief and sophisticated -- only mentioning his profession as economist, and his former title of Deputy Governor. However, it lacked the blue verification tick, a sign of a legitimate twitter account.
Rajan did not have an active Twitter profile, but many fan Twitter handles still exist.
The saga is a lesson for everyone: do not believe everything you read on social media.