BJP Minister Babul Supriyo was caught on the wrong foot on Twitter. He tweeted an image of a supposed world-class bus stand in Rajkot. Sharing the image, Supriyo declared: “This is not an Airport•It’s not in London or New York either•It’s the New Bus Stand inaugurated in Rajkot, Gujarat.” After the sentence followed a ‘clap emoticon’, showing his applause and respect for the much revered ‘Gujarat model of development’. Moments later, the same post led to a serious embarrassment for the singer turned politician. As it would emerge, the world-class bus stand he was talking about doesn’t even exist, just not in Rajkot, but anywhere in the world. It was just an impression of an artiste’s mind, how the project would eventually look like.
The Minister of State for Heavy Industry & Public Enterprise was quick to accept that he had erred when a Twitter user pointed that the image was just an artiste’s creation. He explained that he came across the image through a WhatsApp forward. The reason he didn’t doubt it’s veracity was the fact that it was forwarded by a Don Bosco friend. However, he didn’t delete his earlier post. You can follow the conversation here:
First, the gloating and the beating of the drums:
Then, came the bitter realisation:
And guess how Supriyo reacted to this. He put the blame on this entire fiasco with the name of a Don Bosco classmate. Well, what’s a friend for, if he can’t cover up for your mistakes.
No one knew that coming from Don Bosco makes one automatically less prone to falling for fake news. Not only did he behave like a mean friend, he failed to take the responsibility for a post he shared and apologised for later. He is a Minister, not his friend from Don Bosco. He has the responsibility to disseminate credible information to his electorate, not his friend.
Four conclusions that we draw from this incident are:
- Fact-check all Whatsapp forwards before believing in them and sharing them.
- Even Ministers are falling into the trap of fake-news and sharing them. So don’t believe your leaders when they share something on social media.
- Even friends from highly reputed education institutions can be foolish and gullible to such hoax. Don’t take their words for granted. FACT CHECK
- And don’t form your opinion on anything simply by a seeing social media post.
This is not the first time that government representatives or mouthpieces have blundered. Press Information Bureau (PIB) that issues official press releases and news updates on behalf of the government, tweeted a photo of PM Modi making an aerial survey of flood-hit Chennai and adjoining areas.
Then, recently, the official handle of BJP Delhi tweeted a picture of a South Delhi road claiming the MCD run by BJP had replaced street lights with LED light, thus helping the exchequer save an amount of Rs 425 crore. Twitter busted this fake image. It was actually an image of a Canadian street.
Here is the source of this image: