In some bizarre news, the ISI and Pakistan Army have formally registered a complaint to PTA and the Ministry of Information and Technology against fake Facebook profiles registered under the names of their officials.
According to a report, some of the officials affected by the fake Facebook profiles issue include Raheel Sharif who is the Army Chief General, Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar who is Director General ISI and senior officials like General Haroon Aslam and General Asif Haroon. All accounts except for the one belonging to Director General Inter Services Public Relations, Major General Asim Saleem, are fake according to an Army spokesman.
Fake Facebook profiles issue affects the top brass of both the military and the ISI
Khurram Mehran, a PTA spokesman, confirmed that a request had been officially lodged. He said that in such cases, PTA assigns the tasks to appropriate departments for further investigation. Another official explained that Facebook and the Ministry of Information have a mutual understanding where unnecessary content and pages can be removed from the social network on the request of the government. PTA itself is helpless in Facebook’s case since the website operates from the U.S.
Sources indicate that more than 37 fake accounts on Facebook were made after General Raheel Sharif was inducted as the Army General Chief on 27 November, 2013. After they were reported, Facebook managed to delete most of them but the problem still persists as they were created again a few weeks later.
People are easily mistaken as these accounts regularly post updates, quotes and upload pictures as well
What’s interesting is that these fake accounts operate just like the real deal. Their friend lists include politicians, army officials and journalists. They even use Facebook and are routinely seen liking pages and posting status updates. Hilariously, many easily mistake these accounts as being real. A politician from Rawalpindi wrote “Thank you very much sir” after his friend request was accepted by a fake account pretending to belong to DG ISI Gen Rizwan Akhtar.
Since there aren’t a lot of verification methods employed to confirm the identity of a Facebook account, the problem remains a constant one. The government is, however, using IP addresses to locate the people who make these accounts.