The MHA, according to sources, is learnt to have taken up monitoring of the dubious Twitter handles

NEW DELHI: A spate of malicious campaigns on Kashmir has intensified the home ministry's focus on Twitter and police have been asked to keep a close watch on handles spreading fake news.

Cyber security experts said concerns are rising about malicious campaigns and creation of what appear to be bot accounts on Twitter. Law enforcement agencies said Twitter has become the hotbed for such campaigns over the past one month.

“The number of posts on social media with respect to Kashmir has gone up since August 5. A large number of these fake posts are originating from Pakistan, the United Kingdom and Canada. Last month, we had asked Twitter to suspend eight such handles,” said a senior MHA official on condition of anonymity.

The government had on August 5 revoked Article 370 and split Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. Kashmiris living outside the Valley have also expressed on social media their sentiment against scrapping the special status.

The MHA, according to sources, is learnt to have taken up monitoring of the dubious Twitter handles with the information and broadcasting ministry and asked it to flag issues related to Kashmir.

“There is a very concerted effort from Pakistan to use communication as a weapon against India on Twitter,” said Brijesh Singh, the cyber security head for Maharashtra Police. “They (Pakistan) are indulging in mass-scale creation of fake accounts. They are using profiles of real people from India and are not even sparing the army,” he said.

“Images are being used to imply that there is a genocide happening in Kashmir, and they are gathering Mujahideens for this. It would be visible to Twitter that these bot accounts are being created and that this kind of information is being posted and they are allowing this. We have reached out to them,” Singh said.

Twitter did not respond to ET’s queries till press time Wednesday. A spokesperson had earlier said the company does not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons. “Legal requests made to Twitter are published bi-annually in our Twitter Transparency Report,” the spokesperson said.

According to social media analytics firm Konnect Insights, which tracks conversations on Twitter, since August 5, Kashmir as a keyword generated 6.7 million mentions on the platform with a reach of 110 million users. About 84.5% of the posts were retweets and the primary contribution on the subject came from India, Pakistan, and England. About 67.71% had negative sentiment on the matter, while 32.29% was positive.