From the last one and a half year, every medical professional from all over the world is working hard day and night to fight back with this pandemic which is spreading across the globe and snatching millions of human lives. Scientists are going out of the box and trying to find out a way to stop the further spread of covid-19. However, as soon as the pandemic started, the students of a very popular institution known as WhatsApp University, researched and discovered numerous ways of fighting back with the deadly virus. These medicines are not only effective but can also be prepared at the comfort of our houses.
Jokes apart, currently our world is facing the consequence of consuming misinformation or popularly known as fake news. Fake news generally refers to misinformation which can spread through the words of people, printing medias or digital forms of communication. This news can be in a form of memes, edited videos, advertisements and social media propagated rumours. Fake news which is spreading through social medias has become a serious problem. It has potentials which can result in wars or social mobs, or political violence.
There is an extensive amount of fake news or misinformation spreading across the social medias every day. It is because, even in this twenty first century, there is a lack of mechanism that will stain down fake news and ensure that only a genuine news with a proper epicenter, reaches the audience.
Consequences of misinformations:
The damages caused due to fake news or misinformations on social media has increased due to the growth of the internet penetration in India, which has risen from 137 million internet users in 2012 to over 600 million in 2019 according to the Wikipedia. Only WhatsApp application has active users of over 230 million in India. And the main reason behind the effectiveness of this fake news is that, people easy believe what they see in social medias, without judging the proper source or the authenticity of the news. Some of the consequences of fake news are as follows:
- Political outrage- Spreading fake political views about a particular party or hurting the sentiments can result in political violence. For example, there got a lot of fake news got published in social medias about the post political violence between BJP and Trinamool after the Bengal election, 2021. As per the reports, it was shown that numerous numbers of rapes, murders were taking place on BJP supporters for loosing the election by the ruling party. But after a thorough investigation, it was seen that most of the news was fake and has no authenticity to it.
- War against other countries: Sometimes, spreading fake news about a country can result in violence and can also result in war. For instant, A study by the EU DisinfoLab in 2019 founded that “there are more than 200 fake local news websites in more than 65 countries which are managed by Pakistani influence networks. Their aim is to influence peoples of international institutions along with the common people to destroy the public perception of India.” By 2020, the number have grown even more than the number in the investigation.
- Creating a panic situation among the people: Misinformation related to coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is in the form of social media messages related to home remedies that have not been verified, fake advisories and conspiracy theories. Many people have been arrested for spreading fake news about the coronavirus pandemic. On 7 March 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an appeal to the citizens to stop believing in such rumours.
How to Recognize Fake News and Misinformation
Once controversial or suspicious content is spotted, the reader should look into the details of the publisher and author of the content. He or she should check whether the publisher has a good reputation in the field? Is the publishing house being a trustworthy source of information? If they have a genuine source or origin of the information?
Misinformation or fake news generally use fake names, as the author. If the site has a history of making suspicious claims, the viewer should report the post.
If someone encounters fake news and misinformation in social media, you should take an action. If a trending post is inappropriate, you can ‘report’ the post and it. If a specific user sharing fake news or trying to spread controversies, one should block the user or unfollow.
How Social Media Companies Are Combating Misinformation
There are many fake news sources and different types of misinformation which are openly spreading in social medias. As a result, big social media companies have taken certain actions to fight with the fake news to maintain their reputations:
Facebook company has recognized the problems of misinformation and is taking various actions to address it which include Journalism Project and the News Integrity Initiative. These are designed to spread awareness about fake news and how a user can easily fix it. In addition, twitter takes action against the post which are reported and are of manipulative behaviors. Hence, many twitter accounts including many celebrity accounts have been reported. Furthermost, Instagram has also seen new measures to combat misinformation.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.
We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge