Monday October 14, 2019
Home Lead Story Fake News Con...

Fake News Continues to Flourish on Social Media Platforms After Polls

The flow of fake news after the election results suggests that the tide of misinformation on social media is unlikely to stop any time soon

0
//
India Polls, Fake News, Millions
Reaching out to the old people, who are newly getting introduced to smartphones and social media is a challenge. Pixabay

Posts containing fake news continued to flourish on social media platforms after the end of the Lok Sabha elections that saw the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returning to power with a massive win.

Celebrations followed the results that pave the way for Modi to become the Prime Minister of the country for the second consecutive term. Some distributed ladoos to celebrate the victory. A few others spread fake news.

A post claiming that “Welcome Modi Ji” has been written on all the city buses of London soon started doing the rounds on social media platforms.

The claims were found to be fake by fact-checking platform BOOM. The images used for the posts originated in 2015, when a bus named “Modi Express” was launched by the Indians living in the UK, the fact checkers found.

Some even circulated a video on Facebook that claimed that a Gujrati man got so elated with Modi’s re-election that he showered cash on people in Milton, Canada. The caption that accompanied the video claimed that the man made a lot of profit after the share market responded positively to Modi’s re-election.

BOOM traced the viral video to the Instagram account of a Detroit, US based man. It found that the video, originally shot in New York, was uploaded much before the election results in India were declared and it had nothing to do with the celebration of BJP’s victory.

On May 23, the day the results of the Lok Sabha polls were declared, a video that showed Modi with his mother went viral on Facebook. While social media users claimed that the video was shot after BJP’s landslide victory in the elections, fact checking website Alt News traced the video to 2014.

India Polls, Fake News, Millions
These forwards, many of which contained fake news, surged during the election time. Pixabay

BOOM also found that following the victory of the BJP, a quote that was falsely attributed to Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan in the past resurfaced on WhatsApp.

“I would leave India if Modi becomes the PM of this country,” the actor was falsely quoted as saying in the post that demanded that the actor should now “apologise or leave the country as PM Modi is back”.

BOOM traced the quote to a fake tweet and fake news report that celebrated the 2018 April Fool’s Day with the false information.

These posts, however, are only the tip of the iceberg. Many more fake posts are doing the rounds on social media with some even falsely claiming that six lakh votes polled in favour of Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Kerala’s Wayanad mysteriously disappeared from the records.

Also Read- Easing Fears in Wake of Data Breach Should be Priority, Says Researcher

According to BOOM Founder Govindraj Ethiraj, the spread of fake news reached an “all-time high” in the run up to the 2019 general election.

The flow of fake news after the election results suggests that the tide of misinformation on social media is unlikely to stop any time soon.

“The biggest challenge to fighting fake new is that over 300 million of the 550 million smartphone and broadband users in the country are low on literacy and digital literacy and are especially gullible,” leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy earlier told IANS. (IANS)

Next Story

Pakistan Pushes Cyber Warfare Against India on Twitter

Using network analysis, research team discovered there was a significant level of activity from Pakistan related to #GoBackModi

0
Cyber Warfare
Pakistan aggressively ups sinister propaganda against India on Twitter. Pixabay

Pakistan is aggressively pushing sinister propaganda against India via ramping up cyber warfare on Twitter, a new report said on Monday.

According to tech startup Logically AI, unscrupulous agents from Pakistan spread misinformation via #GobackModi campaign on Twitter during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Chennai.

Using network analysis, the research team discovered there was a significant level of activity from Pakistan related to #GoBackModi.

This involved Pakistan-based accounts posing as Tamil and Marathi accounts, and accounts along with bots engaging with authentic tweets to boost their engagement.

“Social media has become a hotbed for spreading ‘fake news’. These accounts are generally operated through fake profiles created cross borders. The primary objective to spread misinformation and disinformation through these accounts is to disturb the civil discourse,” Lyric Jain, Founder of Logically, said in a statement.

Cyber Warfare
Regarding Cyber Warfare, Twitter said that the company is committed to the principles of openness, transparency and impartiality and no one is above its rules. Pixabay

“This is the second instance where Logically was able to discover fake accounts that trace back to Pakistani IP addresses. Prior to this, during general elections, we had busted fake news and accounts which also originated from China and Pakistan,” Jain added.

According to Twitter, the company is committed to the principles of openness, transparency and impartiality and no one is above its rules.

“We enforce our policies judiciously and impartially for all individuals — regardless of their political beliefs, professional position or background,” a Twitter spokesperson told IANS.

Giving a befitting reply to Pakistan’s cyber warfare, Netizens in India trended “DontGoBackModi” as the Prime Minister met Jinping in Tamil Nadu’s Mamallapuram.

Earlier in August, Pakistan admitted that 333 Twitter accounts were suspended for writing on Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370.

Cyber Warfare
After Pakistan’s request, Twitter agreed to alert the Pakistan government before it suspends official accounts. Pixabay

The handles were suspended by Twitter following the objection by the Indian authorities in view of false and provocative content being disseminated through the accounts.

Pakistan’s Dawn reported in August that some 200 Twitter accounts were suspended for apparently posting about Kashmir. The claim came from journalists, activists, government officials and fans of the military tweeting.

After Pakistan’s request, Twitter agreed to alert the Pakistan government before it suspends official accounts.

ALSO READ: Fitbit Launches ‘Versa 2’ Smartwatch in India

After abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution from Jammu & Kashmir on August 5, The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), public relations wing of the Pakistan armed forces, began spreading fake news related to Kashmir and sow seeds of discord among security forces and fuel hatred among citizens in India. (IANS)