Fake profile statuses go viral on Facebook in K-P after Mashal Khan murder
PESHAWAR: In the wake of Mashal Khan’s horrific mob murder, which stemmed from rumors that he had been posting ‘blasphemous content’ online, some panicked social media users have taken to Facebook to inform friends to keep a lookout for fake profiles in their name – just as Khan had done in December.
The status, “I don’t have another Facebook account and if someone sends you a request with my ID and display picture, please report to me,” has started trending on local Facebook.
The trend started after Khan’s December 23 status telling his Facebook friends that someone had made a fake profile in his name and to malign him was widely circulated. Khan, a journalism student at the Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan was mercilessly lynched to death on campus by a mob of fellow students on April 13, after being accused of spreading ‘blasphemous content’ online.
Khan’s status, which has so far been shared on the social media site more than 400 times, reads:
“Somebody has made a fake account with my name. And the person seems to be amongst our friends who is trying to send fake texts from the id with my name to His another fake id which is on a girl’s name and is trying to blackmail me with that. Watch out friends. Someone is trying to show my image negative.”
Cell phone videos of the gruesome murder show Khan’s severely tortured and blood covered body being dragged first in a hallway and then on a road on the campus. Thousands of students reportedly participated in the lynching.
The graphic video was shared widely on social media and triggered widespread condemnation from civil society, rights activists, politicians and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government, which ordered a judicial inquiry of the incident.
“We have yet not found any blasphemous material in the case,” K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak told the lawmakers in the house on Friday.
However, the harrowing lynching video, which went viral, has cautioned thousands of local social media account holders to request their online friends to keep an eye out for fake profiles.
“Anyone can make a fake ID any time and that can lead to serious problems,” a Facebook user who posted one such message told The Express Tribune. “I did this after reading Khan’s status but nevertheless this should be done so that people know that I have only one account.”
He requested not to be named because of the matter’s sensitivity.
Another user was also of the same view. He added that the biggest issue was also fake accounts made by people who use women’s pictures in their profile photos to entrap and sometimes even kidnap people.