Whether it’s about a certain religious group, a nation, or political organization, Fake news is on an all-time high during the quarantine.
Our phone keeps buzzing with fake news. Common channels of this news are WhatsApp, Facebook, twitter among others. Quarantine has been used as a perfect time for political propaganda across borders. Each political ideology and government is making the most out of people spending more time at home than ever.
What is Fake News?
Any piece of false news spread widely is fake news. It could be positive or negative but false. It is often spread with intent and people spread it unintentionally and intentionally.
Contribution of Fake News In Politics
Over the decades, fake news is an important tool for politics. It is one of the easiest ways to make or break a person’s reputation. Often, negative news spread faster than the positive one. One of the earliest fake news that spread during the virus outbreak was that the COVID-19 was lab invented. It has been fact-checked and busted by many scientists that earlier versions of the virus existed before.
Many still believe that the virus has been spread intentionally by China thanks to the continuous spreading of propaganda material across the internet.
Whatsapp forwards made rounds across the countries with the spreading of the virus leading to rampant Islamophobia and rumors that the Muslim community is spreading COVID-19.
In recent anti lockdown protests in the USA, people claimed that the lockdown in the USA is caused by Illuminati as they “read about it on WhatsApp”.
In other parts of Asia, fake news like garlic can cure coronavirus, sunlight can prevent corona, etc spread like wildfire.
Busting the fake news
- MYTH- Cow Urine Can Cure Coronavirus – FACT- It Can’t https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/cow-urine-kills-coronavirus-these-indian-scientists-are-fighting-fake-news-in-the-time-of-pandemic-2588617.html
- MYTH- Muslims are intentionally spreading COVID-19, FACT – They aren’t https://indiafightscoronaasone.blogspot.com/2020/04/collection-of-islamophobic-fake-news.html?m=1&fbclid=IwAR3VWB6psLnpuhvcTSayEDvwQSForLfTpp2vkUGcTHjzvutbhdPZqZFckYU
- MYTH- Coronavirus was lab-made. FACT- It wasn’t https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/novel-coronavirus-a-product-of-natural-evolution-not-lab-made-study/articleshow/74688711.cms?from=mdr
- OTHER MYTH BUSTERS- List of Myth Busters by World Health Organisation https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/novel-coronavirus-a-product-of-natural-evolution-not-lab-made-study/articleshow/74688711.cms?from=mdr
Impacts of Fake News
What happens when one starts believing and spreading fake news? It makes things worse for everyone. Especially for those who are often targetted by fake news. Incidents of racism and xenophobia is an all-time high in different parts of the world.
If a lie is repeated enough times, people start believing that it is true. But that does not change facts. Fake news has lasting impacts on the lives of the people. Circulation of fabricated stories is not only a criminal offense but has the potential to add suffering in the lives of other people. Often, a riot starts with the spreading of fake news.
How to identify fake news?
- Check the source- who is publishing it. Is it even published in news or not?
- Check the ideology of those who are writing the post. Is the person racist, misogynistic, etc?
- Fact check – try to check the facts by checking portals that combat fake news.
- Check if its real news or a satirical piece
- Share with others that the news is fake and share facts.
- Ensure that it is not getting circulated in your circle.
It is hard to stop fake news but together we can combat it. Always try to check facts before sharing something.