The social media giants Facebook and Twitter were cooperating very little with Pakistani authorities against spread of fake news on social media through unverified accounts and this cooperation witnessed further low level after August 5 when India revoked special status of Indian-occupied Kashmir.
This was revealed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) while briefing a subcommittee of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication which met with its Convener Kalsoom Perveen in the chair here on Friday.
The subcommittee met to take up the complaint lodged by the committee chairperson, Senator Rubina Khalid, regarding fake tweets and Facebook posts about recovery of huge quantity of gold from her house.
During the last meeting of the committee, those who were involved in spreading the news were brought into the meeting on the orders of convener Senator Kalsoom Parveen to explain this act. A professor of an Islamabad university, who also re-tweeted the news, regretted his behavior and explained that he forwarded the news as a joke.
Director of National Response Center for Cyber Crime (NR3C) informed the committee that the social media accounts of the main initiator of the news against Senator Rubina Khalid had been verified and all necessary measures are being taken to punish them.
The official said that FIA received complaint on July 16, 2019 with respect to Senator Rubina Khalid and it was transferred on the same day to CCRC Islamabad. The news was spread from three social media accounts including Dua Bhutto, Khubab Ahmad and Asad Younas Tanoli and was further shared from nine accounts at the same time. However, all these accounts were not verified. Investigation revealed that through Facebook account Khubab Ahmad shared the news on July 9, and was further shared from Dr Anwar Iqbal with other Facebook users.
The FIA summoned Dr Anwar Iqbal and he refused to come and apologized while saying that it was shared mistakenly. 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 the Twitter and Facebook administrations had been approached with the details of accounts involved in cyber bullying and fake propaganda, and their replies are still awaited.
The FIA official said that Twitter was already not providing information while Facebook is also not cooperating especially after August 5. Earlier FIA got reply in six to seven weeks. Kalsoom Perveen said that 80 percent news items on social media are fake.
He told the house that NR3C has 15,000 cases pending for which only 50 investigating officers have been deployed.
"There are 15 cyber crime centers all over the country with the staff of just 130 personnel which makes it difficult for NR3C to function promptly," he added.
It was revealed that Intelligence Bureau (IB) has all facilities to reach data.The meeting was chaired by Kalsoom Parveen and attended by Senators Dr Ashok Kumar and Dr Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi along with the officials of FIA Cyber Crime Center and Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication.