Tuesday June 18, 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

The Much Needed ‘Digital Revolution’ on the Right Track

However, according to R.K. Rana, former Director General, Assam Rifles, social media has limited use for the Armed Forces

0
social media
"It's time for social media companies to get serious about their responsibility to young people," Hinds was quoted as saying by The Sun. Pixabay

For the Generation Z, it has already become a way of life – tweeting about the problems while getting a passport or writing a Facebook post about the sanitary conditions on trains and expecting a response from the concerned authorities. This was unimagianble just a few years ago.

In fact, keeping in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of creating a digitally empowered nation, a large number of leaders, organisations, Ministries and the Armed Forces are marking their presence felt online – that too with witty quips at times.

With rapid smartphone penetration and half a billion people in the country now using Internet, millennials now feel that the much needed “digital revolution” is on the right track.

Sampada Saraf, a 24-year old Deputy Collector from Madhya Pradesh believes that digitalisation has not only made proceedings more transparent for the citizens, but has also helped authorities keep a tab on the progress of their work.

“From registration of complaints to getting a caste certificate, ration card or land disputes, has been or is in the process of being shifted ‘online’,” Saraf told IANS.

“Our official Facebook pages and Twitter accounts keep us well connected to the people we serve.”

The previous government launched the “Digital India” campaign in 2015 to ensure all of the government’s services are made electronically available.

Four years later, today, the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Office of the Prime Minister of India (PMO India), Ministry of Defence, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and other major organisations are heavily followed on social networking platforms.

How active, witty and prompt the Indian government organisations are on social media was highlighted recently when the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) responded to a user of its official ticket booking application who complained of obscene advertisements on the app.

social media
When journalists apply their traditional method of crafting headlines, tweets and other social media posts to Trump, they end up passively spreading misinformation by uncritically repeating his falsehoods, the study added. Pixabay

The response of IRCTC, asking the user to clear his browsing history, kept trending on all social networking websites for a couple of days.

While talking to IANS, Alok Dave, retired General Manager, Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli said, “I think there is a paradigm shift in any communication with people due to technology changes and therefore everybody, whether government or private must use these methods for basic survival.”

Since digitalisation has bridged the gap between citizens and the government, a lot of information and data now reach the authorities first hand.

“Social media has eliminated the need of a middleman. People personally reach out to us with their grievances which not only keeps information clear but also helps us help them immediately,” said Sunil Dubey, Deputy Secretary, Department of Revenue, Madhya Pradesh.

Leading from the front, Modi has 47.8 million followers on Twitter where he conveys important policy decisions and 22.9 million followers on Instagram where he posts about cricket, travel destinations and pictures of him meditating in ice capped mountains, while keeping his country informed about the work he looks into.

There are also no two opinions about the fact that people now care about the digital presence of the government handles.

Also Read- Qualcomm, Intel, Samsung Invest in US-based Chip-maker

Twitterati on Friday, for example, reacted sharply after the Twitter handle of the Indian Army’s Chinar Corps was suspended for unknown reason. The account was restored later.

However, according to R.K. Rana, former Director General, Assam Rifles, social media has limited use for the Armed Forces.

“The Army must make use of social media for specific purposes like instilling faith in the hearts and minds of people in terrorism infected and remote areas and in aiding civil authorities during floods, earthquakes etc.,” Rana said. (IANS)