On March 20, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya Thackeray announced in a tweet that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Following this, many users began sharing a screenshot of a news broadcast by TV9 Bharatvarsh that reads, “CM Uddhav’s son Aaditya Thackeray HIV/AIDS positive.” A Facebook page titled ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ wrote the caption, “The pot of your sins became full the day the innocent saints were killed in Palghar.” In April last year, two sadhus were beaten to death by a group of locals in Palghar, Maharashtra.
The screenshot is being circulated by many users on Facebook.
Likewise, some Twitter users also shared this ‘news update’ as true.
We searched ‘Aaditya Thackeray’ on TV9 Bharatvarsh’s YouTube channel and found a video uploaded on March 20. ‘Breaking news’ flashes at the beginning of this 28-second video accompanied by, “Aaditya Thackeray, son of CM Uddhav corona positive.” The original screenshot has been edited, the word ‘corona’ has been replaced with ‘HIV/AIDS’.
We noticed that the viral screenshot reads ‘@OfficeOfSID’ and the word ‘corona’ above the screen has been replaced with ‘Maharashtra’. Below is a comparison of the original screenshot and viral image, where all these differences become apparent.
We located the Twitter profile @OfficeOfSid, whose handle appears in the viral screenshot. Alt News found that this handle constantly shares objectionable speech and similar misleading edited photos and videos. Below is a screenshot that shows he shared the morphed TV9 bulletin.
A morphed screenshot of a TV9 Bharatvarsh broadcast reporting that Aaditya Thackeray was tested positive for COVID was morphed to falsely claim he is HIV positive.