Guptas’ fake news onslaught exposed

[caption id="attachment_189842" align="aligncenter" width="630"] Indian businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta
Picture: Muntu Vilakazi/Gallo Images[/caption]

Family’s bid to deflect negative narrative eclipses Info Scandal

UK public relations firm Bell Pottinger’s role in the construction of the Gupta family’s propaganda empire was part of a multinational fake news project to hide the family’s growing enrichment at the expense of South African citizens and taxpayers.

Our investigation also reveals the following similarities:

  • They are all promoted by the same fake accounts on Twitter and pages on Facebook;
  • They use similar Word-press templates and layouts;

  • They share content through reblogs and syndication;
  • All the website “owners” are regular analysts on ANN7; and
  • They share website developers and creators.
The Mail&Guardian has reported, for example, that the Voetsek blog and use the same e-mail service, software and service provider.

In addition, a News24 investigation revealed that Kapil Garg, the creator and owner of the most recent WMC Leaks campaign, has several possible links to the Guptas.

WMCLeaks emerged as a direct response to the leak of e-mails that have revealed the extent of state capture by the Gupta family.

At the end of last month, an increasingly desperate Gupta family sold its media assets to former government bureaucrat and Tiger Brands executive Mzwanele “Jimmy” Manyi.

The R450-million valuation of The New Age newspaper and ANN7 television station has come in for sharp corporate scrutiny but the sale reveals why Manyi is a significant influencer in the fake news campaign.

His is one of 19 authentic accounts that took the message from the black-ops world of an automated Twitter army into the networks of power in the real world.

The Gupta family, via its spokeman Gary Naidoo, did not respond to calls and e-mails requesting comment.

  • The African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR) is an association of the continent’s best investigative newsrooms. It works to strengthen investigative journalism and is incubated by Code for Africa.