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Twitter agrees to block fake Indian PM accounts

The government asked Twitter to take down the accounts because they risked increasing ethnic and religious tension.

Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

TWITTER HAS AGREED to remove six fake accounts which purport to be Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s following a request from the Indian government, the premier’s spokesman said today.

The government asked the website to remove the accounts on the grounds that they misrepresented the prime minister and risked increasing ethnic or religious tension.

“Officials at Twitter have told us they are reviewing our request to remove the six fake PM accounts and they intend to cooperate,” Pankaj Pachauri, Singh’s spokesman told AFP.

“These accounts often feature mischievous, communalist (ethnic or religious) sentiments that can be misconstrued by Twitter users as coming from the prime minister himself,” he added.

Twitter representatives were not immediately available to comment on Thursday.

The prime minister’s official account, @PMOIndia, was opened in January this year and has attracted 176,000 followers.

One of the fake Twitter accounts purporting to be Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (Image: Twitter)

The request to block the six fake accounts is part of an Internet crackdown by the government following a mass exodus of migrants from the country’s northeast who fled southern cities such as Bangalore.

Tens of thousands of people fled back to the remote northeast last week after Internet posts, phone text messages and doctored video clips messages spread rumours that they would be attacked by Muslims.

The government has ordered social networking sites to take down provocative posts, and some online content has been blocked. Bulk text messages sent by mobile phones have also been temporarily banned.

- © AFP, 2012

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