PTA did not share cell phone data traffic analysis related to Islamabad on 27 March 2022
Posts on social media falsely cite PTA as their official source
Claim: Posts circulating online claim that, according to cell phone data traffic analysis shared by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) officials, more than 0.6 million unique cell phone devices have connected with Islamabad’s BTS (Base Transceiver Station) access points. Unique devices mean mobile phones that are not usually connected with Islamabad’s towers and have “come from outside,” according to the posts.
Fact: The claim is false and misleading as no such information has been publicly shared by PTA officials.
On 27 March 2022, Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the public at Islamabad Parade Ground in Amar bil Maroof Jalsa. The gathering was labelled the biggest public gathering in the Federal capital of Pakistan by PM Khan on his official Twitter account. The posts regarding the cell phone data traffic analysis appear to be connected with the Jalsa.
Fact or Fiction?
On 27 March 2022, Soch Fact Check received a link to a Facebook post shared by the page Showtime Pakistan. The post captions read, “According to cell phone data traffic analysis shared by PTA staff, more than 0.6 million unique cell phone devices connected with Islamabad’s bts access points. Unique devices mean the mobile phones that are usually not connected with Islamabad’s towers and have come from outside.”
A few pages shared the claim with an extended caption referring to Asad Umar’s tweet in this regard which can be seen below:
To investigate the claim, Soch Fact Check reached out to Mr Khurram Ali Mehran, Director of Public Relations and Focal Person (PTA). Mr Mehran clarified that the information provided is incorrect as no such data has been collected and shared by PTA. He further stated that PTA does not gather such information and the news related to the ‘bts access points’ is not true.
An analysis of the post caption using CrowdTangle revealed 20,000 interactions received across 36 relevant posts between 27 and 29 March 2022 on Facebook.
The post was first shared on Twitter after which it went viral on other social media platforms. Twitter user Malik Ali Raza tweeted the misleading news with the claim, citing PTA as the source of the information.
This misleading tweet was then retweeted by Mr Asad Umar, Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives.
Conclusion: The PTA did not share cell phone data traffic analysis related to Islamabad on 27 March 2022. The posts claiming otherwise are incorrect and false.