Fake News and Disinformation New Challenges in Indian Society

Priyanka Saurabh *

It is everyone's responsibility to fight the menace of fake news and misinformation. It covers all dimensions from reducing financial incentives for fake news to improving digital literacy among the general public. Today, many agencies in the country are working to bring the truth of fake news to the people, but this is not enough because their reach is not yet widespread, due to which fake news can be curbed or the truth can reach the people immediately. At the same time, due to increasing fake news, social media platforms are also working on it, because many times their credibility has also been questioned, WhatsApp and Facebook have also made many changes in their feature to stop fake news, but on this yet More work needs to be done so that a clean environment can be created.

Fake news is false or misleading information presented as news and often intended to damage the reputation of a person or entity or to make money through advertising revenue. Data from the National Crime Records Bureau shows that 2020 saw an almost three-fold increase in incidents of fake news and rumor-mongering as compared to 2019. A total of 1,527 cases of fake news were registered in 2020, as against 486 cases in 2019 and 280 in 2018.

Fake news and misinformation are a growing menace in India. False news and propaganda spreading continuously in India are becoming a serious social challenge for the country. In a country like India, this problem is becoming more serious and due to this, incidents of street riots and mob lynching are often seen.

In India, which has over 750 million internet users, social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp have become major sources of 'fake news transmission. Many such examples can be seen in India, where an innocent person has lost his life due to 'fake news' or false news.

WhatsApp is considered to be the most vulnerable medium for 'fake news' in India, as its users often forward the news to many people without knowing its veracity, due to which misinformation reaches many people at once. She goes.

Propaganda, misinformation, and fake news have the potential to polarize public opinion to fuel violent extremism and hate speech. For example, the recent migrant crisis in Tamil Nadu was caused by the spread of fake news. Fake news articles are used intentionally and verifiable to influence politics and promote advertising, to manipulate people's perceptions of reality to manipulate elections.

During and after the 2016 election, Russian agents created social media accounts to spread fake news that incited protests and supported presidential candidate Donald Trump while discrediting candidate Hillary Clinton and her allies. Media companies promote sensational news and false headlines for high TRPs and viewership. For example Circulation of false videos showing shocking attacks on the Army in Kashmir Valley.

Many times, fake news is used to mislead people who are not digitally literate. For example, after demonetization, the fake news of electronic chips in Rs 2000 notes created a lot of confusion among the people.

The multilingual population is a problem in combating fake news in India, there are 22 official languages and only 10.67% of the population speak English. Existing fake news detection measures are most effective for English, which can lead to failure to recognize and process information in other languages.

Instant messaging platforms Since Internet messaging applications are end-to-end encrypted, identifying and debunking fake news is only possible with the support of users. Internet penetration in India has increased from 137 million internet users in 2012 to over 600 million in 2019. An increase in internet access coupled with digital illiteracy has resulted in a rise in fake news online.

The European Union has implemented a 2022 Code of Conduct on Disinformation and the United Kingdom has proposed an online safety bill that will seek to proactively monitor controversial content from social media platforms.

India too must put in place a robust framework to tackle the root causes of misinformation. All sections of the population should be made aware of the realities of fake news and propaganda by creating awareness and education.

Fake news is often propagated by using ads focused on polarizing issues to exacerbate existing social divisions and partisan strife by imposing disclosure requirements for targeted ads. Therefore, there is a need to extend the advertising disclosure provisions to all issue-based advertising and advertisements for political candidates or campaigns.

The issue of inauthentic accounts and pages can be a significant motivator for the propagation of fake news. Verification can help deal with this problem. If a cyber ombudsman is created, it can deal with the credibility of sources of news and can also handle complaints related to misinformation.

To take the help of technology, technology firms should invest in technology to find fake news and identify it for users through algorithms and crowdsourcing. Today, every day many types of content are being made available around us through various mediums on the internet, but no one knows what is its truth. It has reached many people before going into its depth.

The government should make strict laws regarding spreading such information so that the right news can reach the public. Even today, the cyber law of our country is very weak, from which anyone can easily escape, the government needs to think about it.

Regarding this matter, the Supreme Court said that we need such a guideline so that those who commit online crimes and those who post misleading information on social media can be tracked. The government cannot escape by saying that it does not have any technology to stop the misuse of social media.

Fake news harms every section of society. Therefore, it is the responsibility of everyone to fight the menace of fake news and misinformation. It covers all dimensions from reducing financial incentives for fake news to improving digital literacy among the general public.

Today, many agencies in the country are working to bring the truth of fake news to the people, but this is not enough because their reach is not yet widespread, due to which fake news can be curbed or the truth can reach the people immediately.

At the same time, due to increasing fake news, social media platforms are also working on it, because many times their credibility has also been questioned, WhatsApp and Facebook have also made many changes in their feature to stop fake news, but on this yet And there is a need to work so that a clean environment can be created.

* Priyanka Saurabh wrote this article for
The writer is a Research Scholar in Political Science Poetess, independent journalist, and columnist
and can be contacted at priyankasaurabh9416(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on March 21 2023 .

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