Fake news 'screenshot' posing as Dawn.com about PNS Saad surfaces on social media

Published June 14, 2020
A screenshot of the doctored Dawn.com homepage and fake news story.
A screenshot of the doctored Dawn.com homepage and fake news story.

A screenshot of a fake news story doctored to look like an article on Dawn.com surfaced on social media on Sunday.

This is the second such image to surface in a span of five days — both widely shared by Indian Twitterati.

The fake screenshot attempts to mislead the public by suggesting that a Pakistani submarine, PNS Saad, engaged a civilian boat.

A caption under the photo says: "A Pakistani fishing boat was intercepted mistakenly amid Indo-Pak tensions yesterday night."

The image is cropped to show only the fake story's headline and is doctored to resemble the homepage of Dawn.com. However, certain grammatical and stylistic deviations point to the glaring inauthenticity of the screenshot.

Firstly, a sans serif font has been used for the headline while the site uses a serif font. Also, the excerpt underneath the picture is entirely in uppercase in contrast to Dawn.com's style and uses a font which is found nowhere on the website.

Additionally, the font below the Dawn logo for today's newspaper appears blurry and of a lighter colour. The red 'Live' icon above the headline is also blurry.

Moreover, the timestamp under the story about when it was last updated is missing.

This is not the first attempt to mislead the public by circulating fake news using the Dawn brand.

On June 10, a fake screenshot suggested that a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16 fighter jet had gone 'missing' during a 'panic situation' in Karachi.

Earlier, in April a fake social media post doctored to pose as Dawn.com surfaced on Facebook and Instagram attempting 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.

In October 2018, another fake screenshot of a news story 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, yet 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on social media, in an attempt to mislead the public by implying that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Faisal Vawda had withdrawn a petition against the alleged corruption of Karachi mayor Wasim Akhtar.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) to issue a press release that mistakenly assumed the post was legitimate.

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