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Fake Site Spreads Misinformation About PTI-Supported Candidates

Fake Site Spreads Misinformation About PTI-Supported Candidates

PTI officials have raised concerns about the existence of a fraudulent web portal that mimics the official site designed to provide information about independent candidates endorsed by the party in upcoming elections. The accuracy of this claim is supported by evidence demonstrating that the website in question, pticandidate.com, disseminated candidate details that were not verified by either the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) or the official records of the PTI.

Azhar Mashwani, a PTI activist, brought attention to this issue on the social media platform X, confirming that the authentic PTI portal for candidate information is pticandidates.com. He underscored that a deliberate attempt to spread misinformation was being made through a website with a strikingly similar name, emphasizing the distinction in URLs with the official portal containing ‘candidates’ while the alleged counterfeit used ‘candidate’.

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Jibran Ilyas, PTI’s social media head, echoed Mashwani’s sentiments, alerting the public to the creation of a deceptive site providing inaccurate candidate details. He emphasized the critical difference in URLs, stating that the legitimate domain includes ‘candidates,’ whereas the spurious one lacks the ‘s’ in ‘candidates.’

It is worth noting that the PTI had recently “relaunched” its official web portal, aimed at assisting voters in obtaining information about independent candidates supported by the party. The portal allowed users to input their national or provincial assembly constituency to access details such as the candidate’s name, election symbol, and WhatsApp channel.

However, the fact-checking platform iVerify Pakistan reported that as of 1:10 pm on Thursday, the websites provided by the PTI were not functioning. In response, the platform decided to scrutinize the alleged fraudulent portal to assess whether the information it presented was consistent with the ECP’s official candidate lists issued on Sunday, the PTI’s official list of candidates for National Assembly seats, or details shared via messages on Imran Khan’s official Facebook account.

Upon further investigation, disparities emerged between the information disseminated by the purported fake website and the details provided on Imran Khan’s Facebook page, the ECP lists, and the PTI’s official candidate list. For example, a search for Lahore’s NA-119 constituency on the alleged fake website revealed Nadeem Altaf Khan Sherwani as the candidate with the electoral symbol ‘cricket stumps.’ In contrast, Imran Khan’s official Facebook page identified Shahzad Farooq as the candidate for the same constituency with the symbol ‘tricycle.’

These findings reinforce the veracity of the PTI’s claims regarding the existence of a fraudulent website disseminating misleading information about PTI-backed independent candidates. The discrepancies observed in candidate details between the official sources and the alleged fake portal underscore the potential impact of such misinformation on the electoral process. As the party works to address these issues and rectify inaccuracies, the incident highlights the challenges associated with maintaining the integrity of information in the digital age, particularly during critical electoral periods.