Google says it didn’t hire the 16-year-old Indian boy whose name has been all over the media in his home country. Supposedly, Harshit Sharma had landed a dream job with the U.S.-based tech giant, which was said to be paying him a hefty sum.

16-year-old indian
ElisaRiva / Pixabay

Google: We didn’t hire this 16-year-old Indian

Earlier this week, multiple media outlets in India were reporting on a press release from the Union Territory administration, which said that Google had hired the 16-year-old from Chandigarh, India. The release went on to say that he had been selected for the company’s icon design program and would be paid more than Rs23 million (about $361.4 million) a year in salary after he undergoes a year of training.

However, Google reportedly told The Indian Express that it had no record of Sharma’s “candidacy” for employment.

Here’s what the original reports said

The original stories about the 16-year-old Indian being hired at Google indicated that he was attending the Government Model Senior Secondary School in Chandigarh’s Sector 33-B. He was said to be studying under the IT stream, and he claimed that Google chose him for the graphic design position after he submitted the posters he had design using a “Google link.”

Sharma described the job as a “dream come true” and claimed that the position included more training in graphic design. He also told The Indian Express that his uncle trained him in graphic design and that he always wanted to work in graphic design at Google. The 16-year-old Indian also claimed that he was flying to California on August 7.

16-year-old Indian’s claims now under investigation

According to the Hindustan Times, The Union Territory administration’s PR department is now investigating the case after Google issued the statement saying that it never hired Sharma. The administration issued the press release about the teenager’s supposed achievement last week, as did his school’s principal, who congratulated him.

She said the 16-year-old went to her and told her that Google had offered her a position, but she did not say that she had seen a letter officially extending the offer. The boy reportedly claimed that he had a letter from Google outlining the offer but that he couldn’t send it because he was traveling.

The Hindustan Times reports that Sharma’s two phone numbers were turned off earlier this week and that his Facebook profile claims that he “works at Google” and is “living in California.”

Fake news has been a growing problem worldwide, but apparently India in particular has a major industry built around fake news, mostly written to exercise influence over politics.