Facebook & Twitter Have Stopped Cooperating With Govt on Fake News Complaints: FIA

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has revealed that social media giants, Facebook and Twitter, are not cooperating with the authorities regarding the circulation of fake news on social media through unverified accounts.

The FIA officials revealed this while briefing the Senate’s sub-committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication which met with convener Kalsoom Perveen on Friday.

The committee meeting was set up after a complaint lodged by the committee chairperson, Senator Rubina Khalid, regarding fake tweets and Facebook posts of recovery of huge quantity of gold from her house.

During the last meeting of the committee, the people who were involved in spreading the news were brought into the meeting to explain this on the orders of convener Senator Kalsoom Parveen.

A professor from an Islamabad based university, who also retweeted the news, regretted his behavior and explained that he forwarded the news as a joke.

The Director of the National Response Centre for Cyber Crime (NR3C) informed the committee that the social media accounts of the main initiator of the news had been verified and all necessary measures were being taken to punish them.

The official said that FIA received a complaint on July 16, 2019 with respect to Senator Rubina Khalid and was transferred on the same day to CCRC Islamabad. The news spread from three social media accounts including Dua Bhutto, Khubab Ahmad and Asad Younas Tanoli and was further shared from nine other accounts at the same time. However, all these accounts were not verified.

Investigation revealed that Facebook user by the name of Khubab Ahmad shared the news on July 9 which was further shared from Dr Anwar Iqbal with other facebook users.

FIA summoned Dr Anwar Iqbal although he refused to come and apologized while saying that it was shared by mistake. Dr Iqbal also apologized before the committee. The committee convener said that a respected parliamentarian was disgraced through fake news. The committee also sought the details of Dua Bhutto’s fake account.

They said that Twitter and Facebook administrations had been approached with the details of the accounts involved in cyberbullying and fake propaganda, and their replies were still awaited.

FIA official said that Twitter was already not providing information while Facebook had also not been cooperating since August 5. Earlier, FIA used to get a reply in six-seven weeks. Kalsoom Perveen said that 80 percent of the new news on social media is fake.

He told the house that NR3C has 15,000 cases pending for which only 50 investigating officers have been deployed. “There are 15 cybercrime centers all over the country with a staff of just 130 personnel which makes it difficult for NR3C to function promptly”, he added.

It was revealed that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has all facilities and could reach the data.

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