We live in times where news is just a click away. High-speed internet guarantees that. Social media applications have made the dissemination of news that much easier. But with connectivity, what seems to have spiralled down is authenticity.
Early in May, a video of a CRPF Jawan being allegedly killed by Kashmiris was shared close to 35,000 times on Twitter and viewed equally on Youtube.
Soon, a few news channels also shared the video and the same was circulated on Whatsapp. But after a few days, it emerged that the video was actually a video of the murder of a Bangladeshi leader in Coomilla district of Bangladesh.
Social media is replete with such examples where the propaganda of the ruling right-wing government is spread using fake images and videos. The government’s islamophobic stance on Rohingyas has been fed with the narrative that we shouldn’t let Rohingyas into India because all they do is procreate.
— Raman Malik BJP (@ramanmalik) September 24, 2017
Photo of a young girl cradling a baby is being circulated in addition to one video showing a ‘pregnant 9-year-old girl’. The photo is a screen grab taken from a BBC video on Rohingya refugee camps and the ‘pregnant 9-year-old girl’ video is of a 12-year-old Brazilian girl Sandy from Brazil, who is suffering from multiple head disorders.
The intent of these groups is the same. Use distorted information, fake imagery and exaggerations to promote a certain narrative. Like islamophobia, in the above cases. Their modus operandi is to popularize these bits of information using the loopholes of social media tools. For something to trend on Twitter for instance, it needs to be retweeted a certain number of times till it becomes a trending topic. Creating and operating multiple accounts is easy, there are multiple tech applications which do this with a clock. Many twitter trends have been run solely using methods like these.
How do fake news sites like Postcard News flourish? Who provides a helping hand?https://t.co/3wke4Cj5dJ
— Alt News (@AltNews) September 18, 2017
Verifying authenticity of information and calling out such methods becomes all the more important considering these attempts are to fuel hatred against marginalised communities.
Greeshma, KAGA News