On February 12, 2022, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Goa shared a link to a YouTube video on their official Twitter handle. The video was an hour-long broadcast of a ‘sting operation’ aired by a news channel called Hindi Khabar. In the broadcast, it is alleged that Congress and TMC candidates in Goa indulged in horse-trading and discussed plans to change parties if need be post the election.

Congress Goa put out a statement on Twitter claiming the sting to be “a conspiracy hatched by the BJP-AAP duo”.

In the context of these accusations made by both AAP and Congress on each other, various screenshots of WhatsApp chats are being shared on social media by supporters of both parties.

In the screenshot shared by supporters of Congress, it is being claimed that the ‘sting operation’ is a “deep-fake” video made by AAP.

While the screenshot shared by supporters of AAP suggests that the sting ‘operation’ has “rattled” Goa Congress.

The screenshots of these WhatsApp chats are viral on Facebook.

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Fake/ morphed chats

We had a close look at these screenshots and observed a few anomalies. The first screenshot which was shared by supporters of the Congress party has the following anomalies:

  1. The names that are displayed on top of a WhatsApp group should have commas in between them but this one doesn’t.
  2. The pop-up that tells the user that the chat is encrypted is completely wrong.

The screenshots shared by supporters of AAP also has some errors:

  1. The names displayed on top of a WhatsApp group chat should appear alphabetically but here it doesn’t. Hasiba Amin comes after Dinesh Gundurao instead of Girish Chodankar.
  2. The last name that is displayed on the top ends with two dots (..) but in a genuine WhatsApp group chat it ends with three dots (…).

Based on all the observations that we have made, it is safe to conclude that the chats shared by supporters of both parties are fake. We suggest that our readers should check WhatsApp and make the observations themselves.

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About the Author

Kalim is a journalist with a keen interest in tech, misinformation, culture, etc