While it is still easy to make out the “fake news” in the checkout passageway at the grocery store, it is a lot harder online, thanks to social media. The big reason is that instead of turning to the paper of record or the evening news more people get their news from social media.
The number of mob lynching triggered by the rumours on social media has taken on alarming proportions in India. Rumours have played their part in history. India has seen a phenomenal rise of mob justice in recent months. In some cases, fake video messages showing children being snatched from streets have gone viral, encouraging locals to beat up any one who looks strange or cannot speak the regional language. However, now modern technology is assisting the spread of rumours, leading to unpredicted and often vicious outcomes.
A common coast in the mob violence has been the criminals, usually unemployed and impoverished, located in rural or semi-rural areas. Neither rural nor the poor are usually associated with heavy internet usage. According to research, the number of internet users is growing across India. Furthermore, rumours circulated on WhatsApp are very difficult to trace since everything on the platform is end- to- end encrypted. At the same time, it has become tough to identify the original source of news, which can make it difficult to estimate their accuracy. This has led to a flood of rumours and false news. The court has not only passed some measures to check the mob violence, but also suggested that parliament needs to create a special law to deal with such offences.
The elements driving this fake news cascade is the fall in internet data prices and India is one of the biggest markets for several social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. These accounts multiply with every passing month. A research by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, concluded that 77% urban internet users and 92% rural users consider their mobile phones as the prime gadget for accessing the internet, the main cause is the easy access due to cheap prices and easy availability of mobile phones.
The problem of the spread of fake news through social media is not going to go away anytime soon, and discerning the truth is not going to be easy. As a responsible citizen, it is your duty to stop the spread of fake news across the social media and curb the rise of mob lynching.
Our Social Media: