Pak Army, ISI lodge complaint over fake Facebook accounts
Pakistan's powerful military and its spy wing ISI have complained to the telecom authorities about the existence of fake accounts of their chiefs on a social networking website.
Islamabad: Pakistan's powerful military and its spy wing ISI have complained to the telecom authorities about the existence of fake accounts of their chiefs on a social networking website.
The complaint was made to the Ministry of Information Technology (MOIT) and telecom sector regulator the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA).
There are a number of accounts on the Facebook website, supposedly belonging to the Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif and Director General ISI Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar and other senior officers such as Gen Haroon Aslam and Gen Asif Haroon, the Dawn reported, citing the complaint.
A military spokesperson said that with the exception of one account belonging to Director General Inter Services Public Relations Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa, the rest are all fake.
PTA spokesman Khurram Mehran confirmed that the ISI has launched a formal complaint regarding these accounts.
"Whenever PTA receives any such complaint, it is taken up with the relevant organisation for appropriate action, as per procedure," he said.
Another PTA official told the paper that there is an understanding between Facebook management and the information ministry, under which the management on the government?s request removes unwanted content and pages from its website.
Pakistan can block the entire website but it cannot delete some of accounts and need support of the relevant website management.
A source in the military said that following the appointment of Gen Sharif on November 27, 2013, at least 37 accounts were created on Facebook posing to be the army chief.
He added that the matter was taken up by PTA and most of them were subsequently deleted by Facebook management, only to be recreated after a few weeks.
Friend lists of these fake accounts include senior journalists, politicians, businessmen, army personnel and even students.
These friends routinely 'like' status changes, praise their leadership style and actions taken in official capacity.
These accounts update status, put up pictures, ISPR's press releases, army medals and famous quotes to appear authentic.
On August 9, a picture of Gen Sharif with former DG ISI Zaheerul Islam was put up on one of the fake accounts of the army chief.
According to Wahaj Siraj, convener Internet Service Providers Association, there is no hard and fast rule for creating a Facebook account which may prevent people from making fake accounts.