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Over 81% Delhiites Received Fake News On Social Media During Assembly Elections, Reveals Survey

he survey, however, revealed that 60 per cent of the population stated that they made efforts to authenticate the news with a search on Google, Facebook, and Twitter

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Fake News
The epidemic of fake news is threatening the basic fragment of our democracy. Pixabay

Over 81 per cent of Delhi’s population received fake news through various social media platforms as the Assembly elections neared, according to a new survey by non-profit Social Media Matters and Institute for Governance, Policies and Politics.

Facebook and WhatsApp were the leading platforms that were used for the dissemination of misinformation, showed the results.

“The epidemic of fake news is threatening the basic fragment of our democracy. When the voter is in a constant state of cognitive dissonance how are they expected to make an informed choice. As a nation, it has to be our priority to bring an end to it,” Amitabh Kumar, Founder, Social Media Matters, said in a statement.

The Delhi Assembly elections were held on February 8. The results declared on February 11 saw the Aam Aadmi Party winning 62 of the 70 seats, bringing the Arvind Kejriwal-led government back to power with a massive victory.

The survey “Delhi – #DontBeAFool” was conducted on a sample size of 400 people to interrogate dissemination, penetration and impact of fake news spread via social media on the elections.

Rumours spread ahead of the elections included allegations that women participating in the sit-in protests at Shaheen Bagh were being paid to demonstrate against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Moreover, tweets of renowned individuals proved to be volatile before elections. A tweet by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra along with a video clip of AAP leader Amanatullah Khan falsely claimed that Khan was talking about creating a “Sharia” law.

Fake News
Over 81 per cent of Delhi’s population received fake news through various social media platforms as the Assembly elections neared, according to a new survey by non-profit Social Media Matters and Institute for Governance, Policies and Politics. Pixabay

About 40 per cent of the people who participated in the survey were between 18-25 years of age. While 63 per cent of the respondents were males, 36 per cent were females and 1 per cent were transgenders.

The survey, however, revealed that 60 per cent of the population stated that they made efforts to authenticate the news with a search on Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Nearly 62.5 per cent of the respondents suggested that they have never been affected by fake news, but 72 per cent of them said they knew about people who have been misled by misinformation. (IANS)

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WhatsApp Limits Frequency of Forwarding Messages

WhatsApp limits frequently forwarding messages to 1 chat at a time

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WhatsApp
WhatsApp announced to introduce a new limit on frequently forwarding messages where a WhatsApp user can forward such messages to one chat at a time. Pixabay

In a bid to curb the flow of misinformation in COVID-19 times, Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday announced to introduce a new limit on frequently forwarding messages where a WhatsApp user can forward such messages to one chat at a time.

This limit kicks in once a message has been previously forwarded five times or more, the company said in a statement.

The chat-app, which has over 400 million users in India last year introduced users to the concept of messages that have been forwarded many times.

These messages are labeled with double arrows to indicate they did not originate from a close contact. In effect, these messages are less personal compared to typical messages sent on the app.

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“We are now introducing a limit so that these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time,” the company said in a statement.

WhatsApp
WhatsApp is working with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information. Pixabay

The company said it bans two million accounts per month for attempting to send bulk or automated messages.

The social media app set global limits on forwarded messages to constrain virality in January last year where it restricted forwarding messaging to five times from an individual or a group.

“We set limits on forwarded messages to constrain virality which led to a 25 per cent decrease in message forwards globally at the time,” informed WhatsApp.

In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers.

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“However, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation,” WhatsApp noted, adding that it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.

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The chat-app is working with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information.
It has also announced the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub. (IANS)