Making fake news: Twitter user finds loopholes in Zee Dawood story after everybody cites it as valid news report

Doubts began to emerge over the credibility of the news as there was no official confirmation from authorities of either the UAE or India. Nor did any media outlet in the UAE carry a report of such a huge seizure of assets.

Making fake news: Twitter user finds loopholes in Zee Dawood story after everybody cites it as valid news report

Fake news on Facebook is said to have been the reason why US President-elect Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the US presidential elections. While many in India’s liberal camps say a similar situation led to the victory of the BJP in the 2014 elections, nobody had evidence of how fake news went around. Until now.

Twitter handle SamSays has documented the episode involving a fake story on Dawood Ibrahim which began to take off from January 4. Zee News reported it first that Dawood Ibrahim’s property in the United Arab Emirates was seized.


Zee said UAE has seized the property belonging to Dawood worth Rs 15,000 crore. The Zee News story on Wednesday cited “a report” and with a “Zee Media Bureau” byline, and called it the “the biggest ever crackdown on Mumbai serial blasts mastermind Dawood Ibrahim.”

The report also quoted Zee Media to say that Dawood has several properties, including hotels and shares in top rung companies in UAE.

In addition, it had also claimed that UAE had begun an inquiry into properties after receiving the list from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval last year.

Interestingly, the BJP’s official Twitter handle had tweeted the news after few hours, but only by citing the media reports. Immediately after the endorsement by the BJP, most Indian media outlets carried the news attributing the claims to BJP’S official tweet and the Zee News report.

This was immediately welcomed by the trolls and bhakts of twitter who credited the seizure to the robust foreign policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the region.

Doubts began to emerge over the credibility of the news as there was no official confirmation from authorities of either the UAE or India. Nor did any media outlet in the UAE carry a report of such a huge seizure of assets.

Here’s the full list of tweets in the sequence SamSays put out, revealing how easy it is to credit a dubious report and create a twitter storm over a story on news that didn’t happen.