Mumbai: The threats of coronavirus engulfing the entire world are not new to anybody. As the world struggles to know more about the virus and its impact, a raise of panic has spread worldwide. As this virus has taken thousands of lives it has also been successful in creating a sense of threat and anxiety among Indians and the people around. In such a situation everyone looks out for solutions.
And with the growing era of Social Media, people are influenced by the news and forward messages, even though they are fake and make absolutely no sense. According to a recent study fake news spreads much faster than real news, and real people – not bots – are to be blamed. People who spread fake news may do so because of its novelty and because they may gain status by sharing new information. And the common people fall prey to such news. These messages may contain useless, incorrect or even harmful information and advice, which can cause a problem to the public health and to the overall social order.
In an age of interconnectedness, the story of coronavirus seems to have outpaced its spread leading to misinformation that reaches millions of people around the world in a flash. During this pandemic of the Covid-19 virus spread, there are thousands of fake news circulated on WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media platforms. Believe it or not, much news is spread out for mere entertainment or to misguide the people. Fake forwards on WhatsApp result in people actually implementing the information in their lives. The information spreads in multiplications that create a chain of false alarm amongst the mass. The irony is that some fake news contains a mixture of correct information which makes it difficult to identify its true motive and accuracy.
One such example of fake news circulating amongst the people was about the coronavirus been killed when clapped together during the Janta Curfew initiated by PM Narendra Modi today. A message specifying that the vibrations created by the claps or other sounds would kill the virus was circulated on WhatsApp. It was immediately declared fake by the Government.
During this outbreak, the Indian government has taken an initiative and generated an advisory to all the social media platforms to remove all the fake information and posts circulating on social media about the virus. The government has also told that companies like TikTok, Facebook, ShareChat and YouTube that they should instead initiate awareness campaigns and promote authentic information via these platforms.