Gangtok: The verified Facebook social media account of CM PS Golay, which is used for disseminating government statements and information, was hacked on Saturday evening.

According to sources, the account became inaccessible around 5 pm on Saturday. “The page was removed. Somewhere around 9:15 pm, the page was active again. By then, the profile picture had been changed with a girl’s image. We tried to figure out those from CM’s office as well as from the SKM party. We thought the profile got deleted. We got back control of the page only around 12:30 am-1 am on Sunday”.

On being asked if the officials handling the Facebook account could find who the individual in the image was, a source requesting anonymity, stated “We don’t know who the person is, last night we found a profile with a similar image as its profile picture. It is in the name of AJ Styles. He is a person who goes by the name of some Bajagain. It is a genuine Facebook account. He may have removed, or he may have hacked, but right now, we don’t know anything”.

About four people handle the Facebook page from the Chief Minister’s office. “It appears an admin’s account was hacked. Not through the page account, but a personal account was used to reach the page. We have lost posts from January and February, and the last post is from December 26. The only way to retrieve was to make a call to Facebook Headquarters, who helped us”, informed another source.

Only once before was a verified Facebook account hacked in Sikkim. It was the official Facebook page of Sikkim Express, the daily newspaper, in May 2020. Speaking with EastMojo, Sikkim Express Editor Amit Patro said, “We also contacted Facebook as it was the only option. We lost almost a year’s content. It was some tech guy from Vietnam who hacked our account. They hack mostly to sell products at a very local level, clothes, shoes and whatnot. Such was our case, seeing the verified account, their targeted customers in Vietnam could access the page for shopping, it’s a genuine page. All along, we couldn’t see what was going on with our page. We only registered a complaint to Facebook. We filed no FIR”.

According to SP, Cyber Cell, Tenzing Loden Lepcha, the matter is under investigation. “CID will be assisting Sadar Police Investigation Officer for investigation. We will be working on it. The case has been registered under the IT Act, against an unknown person(s). The page has been reinstated after contacting the nodal officer for Facebook in India. We will find out who conducted this mischief, it will take a couple of days”.

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