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Survey Says More Than Half of The Indians Talk to People With Opposing Views

The fieldwork was conducted from November 26-December 7, 2018

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Multiple apps are displayed on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Amid allegations of “intolerance” of diverse opinions in the country, a new survey for the BBC’s Crossing Divides season has found that 56 per cent Indians profess to have conversations with people with opposing views on issues like politics, climate change, immigration and feminism at least once a week.

Further, 42 per cent urban Indians polled said that they felt comfortable sharing their political opinion with others even if they have a contrary view to theirs, showed the results on Tuesday, making India the fourth country with such a large proportion of population that feels at ease with political viewpoints.

The other three markets endorsing this view were Turkey (61 per cent), Mexico (45 per cent) and South Africa (43 per cent), according to the survey conducted by market research firm Ipsos.

At the bottom of the heap were Japan (seven per cent), South Korea (27 per cent) and Italy (28 per cent).

“The study shows that Indians are taking the opposing views in their stride and have figured out a mature way of dealing with them by avoiding direct confrontation,” Parijat Chakraborty, Head of Ipsos Public Affairs, Ipsos India, said in a statement.

The study, however, also showed that 43 per cent self-righteous urban Indians believe that those who oppose their views care less about India’s future.

But only two in 10 Indians (22 per cent) feel that people’s divisive views on politics are dangerous for the society.

Just as social media companies have come up with transparency rules for political ads, they should have similar features for influencers so that people can distinguish between commercial space and personal space. Pixabay

Nearly 70 per cent of urban Indians believe that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are giving a voice to people who would not normally take part in debates and social issues.

Further, 63 per cent Indians credit social platforms like Facebook and Twitter for breaking down barriers between the public and those wielding power.

“Also, majority of Indians exhort the merits of social platforms as interactive mediums. Downside being, social platforms are denounced for being divisive though,” Chakraborty added.

Also Read- Air Pollution Kills Around 6 Lakh Children Every Year, Claims UN

While 43 per cent Indians hail the positive impact of immigration on India, 20 per cent hold the contrary view, the results showed.

The findings were part of a global study carried out online among adults under 65 across 27 countries. Nearly 20,000 adults participated in the survey.

The fieldwork was conducted from November 26-December 7, 2018. (IANS)

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Vaccine Doubts Spread Across Social Media Like Disease, Should be Taken Down: Vaccine Chief

"We have to think about it as a disease. This is a disease," Berkley said. "This spreads at the speed of light, literally"

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FILE - A vial of the measles, mumps, and rubella virus (MMR) vaccine is pictured at the International Community Health Services clinic in Seattle, Washington, U.S. VOA

Doubts about vaccines have spread across social media like a disease and false information that “kills people” should be taken down by the companies running digital platforms, the head of global vaccine alliance Gavi said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a U.S.-sponsored event on the sidelines of the World Health Organization’s annual assembly in Geneva, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley said there was a strong scientific consensus about the safety of vaccines.

But social media algorithms favored sensational content over scientific facts, rapidly convincing people who had never seen family members die from preventable illness.

“We have to think about it as a disease. This is a disease,” Berkley said. “This spreads at the speed of light, literally.”

vaccine
“A study says @Autism is out of control — a 78% increase in 10 years. Stop giving monstrous combined vaccinations,” Trump tweeted in 2012. Pixabay

WHO says poor vaccination coverage is causing measles outbreaks globally, with numbers spiking in countries that were previously almost free of the disease, including the United States.

Misinformation about vaccines, which the WHO says save two million lives annually, was not a freedom of speech issue and social media firms need to take it offline, Berkley said. “I remind people that this kills people,” he said.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said complacency, misunderstanding and misinformation were causing vaccination rates to decline globally, with tragic results.

“In my country, social media conspiracy groups confuse well-meaning parents so they hesitate to get the recommended vaccinations,” Azar said.

He rejected any criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump, who repeatedly and erroneously tweeted about links between vaccines and autism in the years before he became president.

“A study says @Autism is out of control — a 78% increase in 10 years. Stop giving monstrous combined vaccinations,” Trump tweeted in 2012.

vaccine
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said health authorities needed to “up our game,” adding that she was working with Twitter, Facebook, Google and other tech companies. Pixabay

Azar said Trump was “extremely firm” in support of vaccination.

“If you had been paying attention in the last month, you would know that the President of the United States, President Trump, was very clear and emphatic: get your shots, get your kids vaccinated, vaccines are safe,” Azar said.

ALSO READ: WHO to Strengthen Strategies to Combat Ebola Epidemic in Congo

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said health authorities needed to “up our game,” adding that she was working with Twitter, Facebook, Google and other tech companies.

“You’ve got to get into the trenches … and begin to get engaged much more on a personal and emotional level, because people don’t understand statistics and data. If you do that. (VOA)