Over the last few years, a lot of fake news is circulating. Sometimes people are part of the vicious cycle of spreading fake news unaware of the impact it makes in the life of a common man. Fake news is fake or false information that escalates to different strata of people through platforms like social media, news channels, blogs etc. It comes out in a form that makes people believe that the news is real and they might unknowingly end up sending it to someone else and this spreads across various parts of the world. People exploit the outspread of this fake news either for their own advantage, to spread some political allegations and several other problems are associated with this, sometimes questioning the individuality of a person.
Why does this fake news spread so fast? The main reason is that people, without investigating the details of the matter, simply believes the news and forwards it to someone else. To take a simple example, a little time back, in the month of June this year, there was news about the death of a pregnant wild elephant in Kerala due to the explosion of crackers filled in a pineapple. This news caused a wide range of protests and allegations from the animal lovers across the globe. This news caused such an outburst that some political parties created a chaos out of the situation throwing various allegations on the ruling party and questioned the safety of animals in the state. Even though the news is sad and shocking, the fact was that the cracker was not put targeting to kill the elephant, but it was put by the farmers to scare off the wild animals that destroy their crops that they produce after years of hard work. Of course, strict actions are to be taken against the people who attack the poor creatures, but is it not necessary to hear out the full story before reacting? Is it okay to say anything or allege something without even having proper information? It never is. There are numerous incidents that take place in the world due to the spread of fake news. At times an individual is targeted, other times some group of people, a political party etc. In fact everyone is prone to the toxicity of fake news.
With the evolution of social media, it is easy to transmit information in no time. So to spread fake information it has become easier. Since everyone can post their views and people get to hear them, it does not mean that they can just spit out whatever they want. People have to think what impact it would make on the people listening to them. Just for promoting their personal agenda, if people are making use of social media, the harmful effect that it is going to have in the society is beyond what we can expect. There are numerous cases where an individual’s identity is questioned by a group of people just because they hear some rumours about him/her.
There are a lot of spams taking place through platforms like WhatsApp, where a person is asked to click a link and they could earn some gifts, get some news, etc. Once a person clicks on it, it sometimes gets the entire information stored in the phone, personal and professional by injecting some virus into it. A lot of cases are reported about these kinds of frauds. Some messages that seem like facts are spread across these platforms that without even checking the authenticity of these messages, people simply forward them.
How can we prevent them? It is not easy to prevent the spread of fake news overnight. It takes time, but gradually we can reach the goal. Some news channels have taken the initiative to provide an insight to differentiate fake news from the actual facts. Police have released some preventive measures to stay away from fake news, especially the ones received on social media. But apart from all the measures that are taken, the first step should be taken by each individual. It is necessary to be responsive, not reactive. Perform a fact-check on the news that is received, check if the news is genuine or not. Do not hesitate to report, in case you notice circulation of any false information. Be the change you want to see in the world. Do not simply complain, but also learn to act upon.
Name: Revathy M
Company name : Suntec Digital Solutions, Trivandrum