Fake news in India.

Fake news in India.

Fake news in India.

By Nihar Lalas

Fake news have been a very prominent factor in misleading the information and people of a country. India being a religious country believing in beliefs and values more, makes it vulnerable for fake news trap easily. People in India are connected with each other through the medium of social networking sites which becomes an easy platform for fake news to travel.

People usually do not check the correct source of information and instead of verifying it from a reliable source they tend to share it with their close ones.

Most of the fake news follows through the medium of videos through one phone to another. There are few which came through audio clips, text messages and in the form of images.

According to the study, 35 per cent of false and misleading claims were made through videos and April saw a spike in clips targeting Muslim vendors for allegedly spitting on food items to spread the corona virus pandemic. Moreover, 29. 4 per cent of fake news, which included fake diagnosis and treatment or doctored quotes by celebrities along with their pictures, was shared through text messages. These spiked in March as false notifications and lockdown guidelines became viral.[1]


Manipulation by misinformation

Basically there are two kinds of misinformation or fake news which caught the eyes of people which were related to culture and government. This pattern emerged with a visible increase in stories around Muslims and COVID-19 as well as stories around police brutality. By the end of March 2020, the number of fake stories increased from 15 in the week beginning March 16 to 33 in the week beginning March 30, with the Tablighi Jamaat event at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi being highlighted as a vector of novel corona virus.

A large number of fact-checks on the pandemic were on communal rumours, most of which were false allegations against Muslims of purposefully spreading the virus. These messages appeared in April, after several members of the Tablighi Jamaat tested positive for the virus. These fake news and wrong information sometimes leads to conflicts and riots as well.

In contrast, the number of fake stories around casualty fear evoking messages related to deaths, suicides and suffering of people in the pandemic or graphic imagery–and COVID-19 cure peaked and fell from 18 in number to 12 during the same period, the study found.

“Post the Tablighi Jamaat incident, we saw a change in the tone of fake news- focussing on a particular community that was being targeted as the ‘super spreader’,” said Jency Jacob, editor of Boom News, a Mumbai-based initiative that busts fake news.[2]

“When it comes to communal posts, only text does not create the sort of required emotional connect with the viewer. And, lay people cannot really figure out whether a video clip is new or old. In contrast, posts about cures, say drinking lemon water, don’t really need an image for me to believe it.”

In this pandemic, there are number of fake news which have been witnessed such as Drinking ginger water in the morning boosts your immunity and prevents corona virus, also that corona virus cannot sustain in high temperature etc. These news have been verified by scientists and researchers to be fake.


High on emotions, low on facts

India is entering a phase in misinformation which is intended to be affective around identity and emotion rather than instrumental facts that can be scientifically verified. Thus, from presenting fake cures or fake images of pain–which, over time, get debunked or appear suspicious to viewers–the misinformation has moved to cultural elements that are harder to verify.


How the universe of misinformation works?

Different modes of media are used to relay different kinds of misinformation, shows the study. For example, misinformation in the ‘casualty’ category relies heavily on visual content, such as video clips, since the goal is to evoke a physical reaction, often fear or disgust. On the other hand, tweets on the so-called cures and misleading statistics use a lot of text because the aim is to mislead by offering specifics.


Mainstream media’s complicity

Several mainstream media houses, including newspapers and news channels have put out widely circulated misinformation. Though the study could not cite clear reasons as to why mainstream media was sharing misinformation, it hinted that some may simply be out of poor editorial standards in a highly competitive media ecosystem. “One thing that remains clear, however, is that misinformation travels fast.”


By : Nihar Lalas


[1] https://indianexpress.com/article/india/fake-news-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-boom-analyses-178-fact-checks-on-covid-19-related-misinformation-since-january-6401441/

[2] https://www.indiaspend.com/manipulative-fake-news-on-the-rise-in-india-under-lockdown-study/

15 thoughts on “Fake news in India.

  1. Very wonderful article.this artilce will help to prevent to some extent panic among people by not believing each and every news related to covid !sec 69A and 66A of IT act,2000 must be strictly implemented in this case! Abd also there must be specific law criminalising spreading of such fake, misleading information!

  2. This article is really helpful for the people to understand the sensitivity of the concept fake news which is becoming a very critical matter as it causes misunderstandings, communal differences etc.

  3. Well one of the major issue in India is fake news through different mediums especially in social media.this article very explains the fake news and as a aware person we need to address people that we shoil believe in facts rather than information.

  4. One thing is very important that people should not forward these fake messages and media house should be exposing the fake news instead of telecasting it. People should only rely on the information given by the government and the organizations which are prominent in that field in terms of facts.

  5. Fake news is a very sensitive topic and we need to decide for ourselves what might be fake. We should not believe every news that comes up on news channels. We need to be careful. Very good article.

  6. Fake news is another pandemic which has been damaging our country’s system from inside. Social media has been a biggest platform for spreading fake news. People share anything without thinking if it is true or not. It also affect the law enforcement of the country.

  7. Fake news are on peak nowadays. People easily get influenced by them without verifying for truth. The problem is the consequences of these fake news, which leaves an impact on the mind of the people and shape their views and actions. A recent example where as a result of the spread of fake news dier consequences were faced was the Palghar Lynching . People must refrain from believing in such news and must verify it from a trusted source.

  8. The forwarding of messages and the negligent act of some people led to big problems issues and even threats to many people life and liberty the unknown data which is of no value led to mislead the people and this fake is not good for the whole community this article is thorough explanation of fake and the real

  9. Very appropriate topic for the current situation in India.
    Many social media platforms are used to spread fake news which many times result in major losses to an individual.
    It is easy to fool older generation with such news that’s why those people should be made aware about this.
    Government or the app developers should take strict actions against those who spread fake news.
    Very well described and written.

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