Catfishing on the internet and accounts that mislead are not new by any means. A new account has now occupied center stage due to the controversial story. You might have heard of Dr Aisha the 'COVID warrior' who lost her battle to the virus.
Reports have now emerged on social media that her account might be fake, following which her account was deleted soon after. The internet now is still not sure why the account is fake, and why did anyone have to create an account just to gain sympathy.
Every time we see a fake account it becomes harder to trust the next viral story. Dr Aisha moved netizens when she tweeted on July 31st about how she was unable to cope with COVID-19 would be hooked to the ventilator, "Haya friends not coping with COVID-19. Going to be hooked up to the ventilator sometime today. Thank U 4 Ur friendship. Will miss Ull. Be safe take this deadly virus seriously. Luv u guys. Bye."
The young doctor who celebrated her birthday on July 17th had only recently become a doctor it was reported. Her Twitter profile showed that she was from South Africa. Her post went viral as people were moved by her positivity and as evidence of how risky it could be for one to have COVID-19 even if they are not above 65 years of age.
Eminent personalities including journalists like Nidhi Razdan were moved by the girl's post.
Her post reached many people, and further images were posted on her Twitter feed showing her being hooked up to the ventilator.
The news then arrived that Dr Aisha had passed away, and the story snowballed. Soon, however, there were cracks that many began to notice in her posts and her images posted. Questions began to be raised regarding the veracity of her account.
Verifying the claims around Dr Aisha
While everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, it's more dangerous to be spreading fake news. On a matter like COVID-19 deaths and the struggle for many, it's hardly ok to make light of the grave situation. Interestingly, as suspicions emerged about Dr Aisha's account - (@)Aisha_must_sayz the account was deleted.
By then reports had already emerged that the account is actually a fake. Twitter user (@)MonoChronica also flagged the same. The account in question has been on Twitter since October 2019. Dr Aisha also said she's from South Africa, but her writing style in her tweets is very close to the Indian style of messaging and chatting on social media.
After conducting a reverse image search (fact-check) on her photo of being supposedly hooked onto a ventilator, we found that the photo has been around since 2016, as a photo for 'anesthesia screening'.
While no verification for the account was provided by the account owners, there was another tweet posted earlier on Sunday by Dr Aisha's sister on her handle.
However, the picture was slammed showing the family at the hospital without masks on. Moreover, netizens pointed out that many of Dr Aisha's tweets were viral tweets were copies of other viral tweets.
The inconsistencies on her profile and her borrowed tweets, along with fake images passed off as those on a ventilator make it clear that Dr Aisha's account is a fake one, and so is the story people have fallen for. Nidhi Razdan and those who shared her post, have now issued clarifications calling out the insensitivity of posting fake stories on Twitter.
Dr Aisha died by COVID-19.