A twitter user @Arman_Pashtun from Pakistan shared three pictures on 9th April, 2022, with hashtag #StopHarassingAfghanRefugeesInIran, claiming that Afghan migrants are being mistreated and beaten up by the Iranian Armed Forces which is a violation of basic human rights. The same images were posted from multiple accounts on Twitter, their links are given below:
At the time when data was retrieved, this tweet had 704 Retweets with almost 2 thousand likes.
After conducting a reverse image search, using AI assisted tools, it was discovered that the first picture posted by the user dates back to 4th August, 2021. This was when Iranian Armed Forces busted a truck carrying 300 illegal migrants from different countries.
The second picture posted by the Twitter user dates back to 17th July, 2016 when Turkish Police ran a crackdown against the rebel soldiers.
The third picture posted by the user dates back to 19th October, 2016. It is actually a picture of a Sunni man who was forced by a Shiite crowd to put his shoe in his mouth, and forced to look into the camera at gunpoint.
A verified account and independent Twitter users are sharing old images of Afghan refugees with misleading context to defame the Iranian Armed Forces and blame them for human rights violations. The users are also targeting Taliban for not caring about Afghans and creating a hostile environment because of which the Afghans felt were forced to leave their homeland and live as refugees in other countries. Majority of the twitter users who posted these pictures with hashtag #StopHarassingAfghanRefugeesInIran are from Pakistan.
|Actor||Independent social media users and verified account from Afghanistan and Pakistan are involved in disseminating the misleading content on social media.|
|Behavior||Old videos and pictures are posted with misleading captions/context to misinform people. T he purpose of surfacing old incidents with misleading caption was to #StopHarassingAfghanRefugees a noticeable trend.|
|Content||Twitter posts with hashtag StopHarassingAfghanRefugees.|
|Degree||The target audience of the hashtag is universal, the trendsetters want to divert world’s attention to the mistreatment Afghans are facing in Iran. The purpose of spreading such content is to blame Taliban government for causing distress for Afghans in the country, which led them to flee to other countries where they are beaten up and illtreated.|
|Effect||Old pictures and videos are making rounds on social media, which is causing anger in people. Human rights defenders are raising voice for safety of Afghans inside and outside of Afghanistan.|