Two weeks after a fake news social media post doctored to pose as Dawn.com surfaced on Facebook and Instagram, another fake post by the same accounts was shared on Sunday.
After official complaints by Dawn.com to Facebook, the social media company removed the posts shared by accounts titled 'Defensive Offence' on the grounds of intellectual property violations of Dawn branding.
Originally, the disinformation campaign attempted to mislead the public by suggesting that Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had been "possibly infected" with Covid-19 and falsely claimed that he was under self-quarantine. The same page 'Defensive Offence' on Sunday shared another post that used the Dawn logo and copied elements of the layout of Dawn.com's social media posts in an attempt to malign the army.
The post — which features a picture of Arif Wazir, a leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement who died in Islamabad on Saturday after being seriously injured in a gun attack — reads: 'Pakistan Army Accused of Killing Arif Wazir'.
A Facebook spokesperson shared that, "We want people to use Facebook to express themselves and to share content that is important to them, but not at the expense of the integrity of our community. That’s why our Terms of Service do not allow people to post content that violates someone else’s intellectual property rights, including copyright and trademark. We looked into this issue, and it has since been resolved.”
This is not the first attempt to mislead the public by circulating fake news using the Dawn brand.
In October 2018, a fake screenshot doctored to pose as a Dawn.com news article attempted to mislead the public by suggesting that PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz was expecting and falsely claimed that "Dawn news" had obtained her medical reports.
Earlier in August that year, another screenshot of a fake news story falsified to look like an article on Dawn.com had surfaced on social media, in an attempt to mislead the public by implying that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Faisal Vawda had withdrawn a petition against the alleged corruption of Karachi mayor Wasim Akhtar.
In a similar occurrence, in June 2018, a fake Facebook post screenshot doctored to pose as Dawn.com was shared on social media. It attempted to misinform the public and stakeholders by suggesting that Afghanistan had accepted the Durand Line as an official border.
The doctored image had led to the Afghan National Security Council (NSC) issuing a press release that mistakenly assumed the post was legitimate.