“I do not understand politics but know that the country needs Modi ji,” read a tweet from a Twitter account ‘realjanhvi’. At the time of writing, the tweet was retweeted over 3,000 times and liked over 12,000. The account’s bio claims that it is the official account of Janhvi Kapoor, the actor of a 2018 Hindi film ‘Dhadak’.
The handle does not have a blue tick-mark which signifies that the identity of the person running an account has not been verified by Twitter. Moreover, the account was created in June 2017 but has only 19 tweets. This is atypical behaviour as actors are usually active social media users who promote their upcoming events, films etc via their accounts.
The above indicators suggested that the account may not be genuine, hence Alt News decided to investigate it further.
Twitter account belongs to a person called Govind Saroj
Every Twitter account has a unique numeric id. Websites such as gettwitterid.com can be used to find the same. In the case of the Twitter account ‘realjanhvi,’ the numeric Twitter id is ‘871660301371924481’.
Upon looking up the said id on Google, we came across an account called ‘govinddeshpremi’.
Further, on searching for old tweets where ‘govinddeshpremi’ was tagged, and upon hovering the mouse over the account username, the Twitter pop-up suggested that the account ‘govinddeshpremi’ has been renamed to ‘realjanhvi’. Watch the video below for an illustration of the same.
We were also able to locate the Google cache of ‘govinddeshpremi’ account. We looked up the HTML source code of the page to ascertain whether it has the same numeric Twitter id as the ‘realjanhvi’ handle. The screenshot below of a section of the source code (underlined) confirms that the two accounts indeed have the same Twitter id, thus confirming that ‘govinddeshpremi’ was renamed to ‘realjanhvi’ to issue an endorsement for PM Modi.
We found screenshots of the account shared by other Twitter users when it used to go by the account ‘govinddeshpremi’. The name associated with the account before the id was changed to ‘realjanhvi’ was ‘Chowkidar Govind Saroj’.
पेल दिया करो!!
— Chowkidar Alok Kumar Dubey #AWarrior🇮🇳 (@alokdubey1408) March 27, 2019
We were also able to located Govind Saroj’s (govinddeshpremi) Facebook page where a similar pattern was observed – a page called Shobha Devi was merged to create the said person’s Facebook page. Presently, Saroj uses the Twitter id ‘govindnamo‘.
With elections in full swing, attempts to mislead voters using a variety of tactics will often be used. While unmasking all misinformation might not be feasible for social media users, they can tread carefully to look out for signs. In this case, the account impersonating actor Janhvi Kapoor’s official handle was not verified and has very few tweets, a behaviour atypical of actors.