Axact threatens to sue Pak Tea House for rounding up Twitter reactions

Published: May 19, 2015
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PHOTO: THE NEW YORK TIMES

PHOTO: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Hours after a New York Times report unveiled Axact’s role in selling fake degrees online, the software company threatened to sue a local blog, Pak Tea House, for publishing Twitter reactions to the report.

Following the report claiming Axact ran a fake education empire that involved paid actors promoting fictitious universities and even fake State Department authentication certifications bearing the signature of John Kerry, people stormed social networking sites reacting to the news.

Read: Fake diplomas, real cash: Pakistani company Axact reaps millions

Brandwatch, a technology company that tracks discussions on social media said more than 6,500 tweets were sent out using the hashtag #Axact on Monday with eight times as many negative mentions as positive.

In the midst of the social media frenzy, founder of Pak Tea House, Raza Rumi, said that his blog had been served a legal notice threatening to sue for defamation if he did not “immediately take down the links within 24 hours from receipt of this notice” to tweets mocking the company.

The move came hours after Pak Tea House blogger, Malik Omaid posted Twitter reactions comprising comments, jokes and memes on the report.

In the letter, the lawyers demanded that Pak Tea House’s editor issue “an unconditional apology and retraction for your illegal, defamatory, slanderous and malicious actions.”

On Monday, the NYT report, which quoted former employees and analysed more than 370 websites of fake universities, accreditation bodies and other purported institutions, sparked a wave of criticism on social media even as the company denied wrongdoing.

A message on Axact’s website declared the story “baseless, substandard, maligning, defamatory, and based on false accusations” and added it would sue the New York Times.

However, Brandwatch reported that the company’s response to the report only had a handful of tweets under the hashtag #Axactresponse, but those messages were quickly retweeted more than a thousand times.

Some of those responses suggested that the report was part of an even wider conspiracy against Pakistan.

Interestingly, the link of the story on American business magazine Forbes was also taken down. The reason for the removal could not be ascertained.

According to the report, Axact created a series of fake websites involving “professors” and students who were in fact paid actors.

The “university” websites mainly route their traffic through servers run by companies registered in Cyprus and Latvia, and employees would plant fictitious reports about Axact universities on CNN iReport, a website for citizen journalism.

Read: Chaudhry Nisar orders inquiry into Axact scandal

The article cited clients from the US, Britain and the United Arab Emirates who had paid sums ranging from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars for their degrees — with some believing the universities were real and they would soon receive coursework.

However, undeterred Rumi continued to mock the software company.

This article originally appeared on the New York Times

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Reader Comments (15)

  • excalibur
    May 19, 2015 - 1:25PM

    the fake propaganda targeting Bol will failRecommend

  • WS
    May 19, 2015 - 2:33PM

    I guess 2000 employees at Axact only have one task today, defend Axact against the alleged propaganda, so far Axact employees not doing a good job.Recommend

  • May 19, 2015 - 2:42PM

    @excalibur: Just like the fake degrees Axact churned out?Recommend

  • Czar of Subcontinent
    May 19, 2015 - 2:46PM

    Controversies, Controversies, Controversies!!! How much we Love them!!! Recommend

  • waqas
    May 19, 2015 - 6:32PM

    Yes Axact has every right to sue Pakteahouse, a substandard local blog. I dont know why pakteahouse mind if they are taking some legal action against them — go and win legal battle, why are you afraid if you think you haven’t defame Axact.
    Why crying !!!Recommend

  • Atheist_Pakistani
    May 19, 2015 - 8:19PM

    never new my own educated country men who have ability to read and understand english can sympathize with Axact. It’s a freaking company which is doing scam! As any of your sympathizer even read what Axact were actually doing?

    ET publish this.Recommend

  • Observer
    May 19, 2015 - 10:12PM

    “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action” Salman Butt, water car and now Axact. The world will be forgiven if munafiqat is perceived as the collective trait of the nation. Recommend

  • ASH CHAK
    May 19, 2015 - 10:26PM

    @waqas:
    Looks like you need a degree in English from Axact.Recommend

  • leela4fun
    May 20, 2015 - 2:22AM

    Well, to quote a politician … A degree is a degree, whether it is real or fake.Recommend

  • Meshuga
    May 20, 2015 - 2:54AM

    The scamming company, caught with its pants down, is now going through the seven stages of grief for scammers. The first stage: Be outraged! Raise a lot of self-righteous ruckus, wrap yourself in the Pakistani flag, threaten to sue (not actually sue, mind you) to intimidate the media, the scammed victims, tweeters, and the whole world that “done them wrong”. The last stage will be when the founder and his accessories will be sued by everyone, found guilty and thrown in jail where they can rot forever. This case seems no different from when jihadi organizations based in a country launch attacks against other countries (e.g. 9/11). Except in this case, a criminal outfit is conning vulnerable people around the world, selling fake degrees and coursework, and ripping them off.Recommend

  • Ali Guffar
    May 20, 2015 - 8:46AM

    I have myself been a part of the fake degree department of Axact. I managed six websites and had 7 call center people working for me. 4 of them sales, and 3 of them for support. Rochville University,Belford University and Highschool were my projects. I am personally very sorry that I did this and left the company in 2014, and performed Hajj. May Allah Forgive me. Recommend

  • Karachi 3
    May 20, 2015 - 9:01AM

    Just wondering :where was FBR,did they not know that the Chairman/CEO of Axact paid Rs 26 as Tax and was running a show with staff of about 2000?
    Someone has to take responsibility for FBR in-efficiencyRecommend

  • adnan
    May 20, 2015 - 10:14AM

    We, appreciate Pakistani authorities to take action against so-called axact company’s scandal. One must think, what impetus force that has compelled these authorities to take action against axact company, otherwise, situation was not appalling as everything was going finely and smoothly since establishment of the company in the year 2006, registered by SECP. Should we think, Super Power gave some orders to take action against the said company because of scandal revealed in ” New York Time”? or there may be some tussles with the more powerfuls, who may have created such a impediments and hurdles for the company. I am not sure what happened to this company is good or bad. But I am quite sure about many fake companies which are running in this country and authority concerned are taking no action against them despite they are well informed, if not, they should be. Just imagine how many people have been victimized in this country, who have invested their hard-earned money for the sake of the best education for their children. No doubt this will be a burning issue for few days and will be faded away soon like other issues and things will be going as usual. Recommend

  • kosar kaimkhani
    May 20, 2015 - 10:29AM

    If allegations are true, due course of investigation should take place but it looks that target is BOL Tv under the garb of Axact through media trial. Certain pakistani channels are declaring them guilty which is unfair. Undoubtedly its heinious crime but action must not be taken against other entity like Bol tv which is likely seemedRecommend

  • Saud
    May 20, 2015 - 11:06AM

    This is beyond the realms of reason!Recommend

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