Build a “zombie” website, shanzhai regular media… India’s Net-a-Porter makes fake news sites

The Manchester Times, which closed in 1922, has a brand new website? Is the Los Angeles Times’s “Times” front or the last? 40 years of no-living building sits home to a multinational media group? The fake news networks that India’s online army has spread around the world have finally been ripped off.

BBC local time on December 16th reported that a non-governmental organization called the European Institute of False Information (EU Disinfo Lab) had published a study showing that an Indian company had secretly set up a global network of fake news sites. Designed to influence decision-making in European countries.

The network consists of 265 fake websites operating in 65 countries, the report said. The researchers traced an Indian company called Srivastava Group. The researchers believe the network is intended to carry out anti-Pakistani propaganda.

Build a “zombie” website, shanzhai regular media

The investigation by the Institute of False Information began on a website called EP Today, which claims to be the European Parliament’s online magazine. While tracking the site’s servers, the researchers discovered the Srivaddasabew Group’s fake news network. Reported that the fake news network has a strong presence in several European cities, in Brussels, Geneva and other places to coordinate demonstrations and social media activities.

The researchers found that many fake news sites in the network are “zombie” sites that use the name of a failing newspaper to increase credibility. One of the websites, the Manchester Times, for example, copied the Wikipedia article of the same name in its introduction, but omitted an important part of the article, “the last issue of the newspaper was published on July 22, 1922”.

The so-called Manchester Times website Picture: BBC

Other sites use misleading names, such as the Los Angeles Times, which was originally named Los Angeles Times.

Fake Los Angeles Times (above) and real Los Angeles Times (below) Pictures Source: httpsswe

These sites copy content from regular news organizations to make them look like real news networks. They then planted anti-Pakistani stories and ideas to lobby for India’s interests.

A “local media” called the Birmingham Gazette follows the situation in Pakistan on its front page Picture: BBC Photo

Among them is the Geneva Times, which produces a large amount of video content, and researchers say the site’s activities are designed to influence U.N. decision makers.

This year, a protest in Balochistan province was launched in front of the United Nations office in Geneva, using labels such as “Pakistan Stops the Genocide,” the report said. The Geneva Times and other media have carried out extensive coverage of the matter.

In addition, a number of groups and organizations have been linked to the fake news site, which protests annually during the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions. In 2016, the “European Pakistan Minorities Organization” protested at the United Nations gate, and in 2017, pro-Pakistani minority slogans appeared on the streets of Geneva, prompting the Pakistani government to summon the Swiss ambassador to demand removal.

The official website of the Geneva Times has been blank Picture Source: Geneva Times Website

The geneva Times’ official website was suspended after researchers broke the site. When the BBC tried to call the site, it found that the site’s phone had been cut off and its YouTube and Twitter accounts had been deleted.

Ray Serrato, an investigator who focuses on disinformation, told the BBC that hundreds of fake websites had been painstakingly set up to enhance coverage of issues related to India’s interests. EU officials were also “fed” by the information on the sites and said what they thought, “and they have no idea where their views came from”.

Who’s running the network?

The Srivaddacan group, which the researchers traced, claims on its website that it ranges from energy and aviation to print media and publishing, the report said. In October, the International Association for Non-Aligned Studies (IINS), a group of Srivaddasabethany groups, also sponsored a group of right-wing European parliamentarians to visit Indian-administered Kashmir.

On October 28th Modi also tweeted a picture of him with right-wing European mPs.Source:Twitter

However, the BBC found that the group was at the same address as the New Delhi Times, a little-known media outlet. The BBC’s india correspondent visited the address, and security guards said there was no office in the building, and a resident who had lived there for 40 years said he had never seen anyone in the house.

The European Institute for False Information points out that Madi Sharma, the “EU journalist” of the New Delhi Times and the European Parliament Today, is at the centre of the fake news network. She was an inviter to visit Indian-administered Kashmir this year by right-wing European lawmakers.

At the same time, Sharma is a British member of the European Economic and Social Commission. She describes herself as a successful entrepreneur, but reports say the “Maddie Ltd” she manages is idle.

Both Srivastava and Maddie Sharma declined to comment on the BBC’s report.

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