New Delhi: The problem of fake news can have dangerous consequences and its impact was witnessed during the lockdown when a panic situation was created through social media. The fake news can now make or mar the fate of a country or a society, affecting the lives of millions of people. The DNA analysis looks at different aspects of this menace that can trigger riots or even create a war-like situation between the two countries.
Talking about its impact, MoS Home G Kishan Reddy told Parliament on Tuesday that the migration of a large number of workers was triggered by fake news during the lockdown. We can recall that thousands of people left from Delhi to their native place despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s advice to stay wherever they are.
Kishan Reddy told Lok Sabha that caused panic among workers who were forced to flee as they felt that if they stay in their house, they will not get food and water. The fake news was spread that the lockdown would last be too long.
In reply to TMC MP Mala Roy, who had asked the reasons why thousands of these labourers ended up walking home post lockdown, Reddy said, “The migration of a large number of migrant workers was triggered by panic created by fake news regarding the duration of lockdown. And people, especially migrant labourers, were worried about an adequate supply of basic necessities like food, drinking water, health services and shelter.”
Regarding the number of people who died during the said migration, Reddy said the Centre does not have the data as it is not maintained centrally.
In the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai, however, said that the Centre was ‘fully prepared’ in this regard. It had taken necessary measures to provide food and water to the poor, but due to rumour, the labourers thought it better to go home.
It may be noted here that on 28th and 29th March, thousands of migrant labourers gathered at Anand Vihar in Delhi. The topic of migrant labourers became the most preferred subject for politicians and intellectuals during the COVID-19 induced lockdown. A similar picture was also seen at Mumbai’s Bandra railway station on April 14. The migrant labourers reached the railway station to catch a train for their native city.
Even after the lockdown was imposed, pictures of migrant labourers were seen across the country. It seemed as if the state governments were not trying to stop these people. Perhaps, the states too wanted that the migrant labourers should return to their native places. In such a situation, fake news has created a worse situation for the migrant labourers.
In India, there are about 4 crore migrant labourers who go away from their homes and work in another state. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, about 75 lakh labourers returned to their homes till May this year. It means one in every 5 migrant labourers went back to their state. There is a possibility that all these people become victims of fake news.
The fake news not only causes riots it can also harm the economy and society of a country. Nowadays, big countries are adopting this method to fight against their enemies. This can also be termed a hybrid war.
Fake news was recently spread on social media on the 4th September, claiming that a Chinese fighter jet Sukhoi-35 was shot down by Taiwan’s air defence system as it was entering into the Taiwan border. A 15-second fake video was also shared with this claim. This fake news spread like a wildfire across the world in a few hours, but neither China nor Taiwan confirmed this news. The website which published the denial of this news had also crashed.
Last month, a journalist tweeted fake news about the death of former President Pranab Mukherjee, and it was retweeted by many in a few seconds without confirming it. Later, Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijeet Mukherjee tweeted to deny this and the fake news was deleted.
During anti-CAA protests also, fake news was used to create an atmosphere in the country against the ruling dispensation. Due to the increasing trend of fake news, this has been formally incorporated into the Oxford Dictionary last year. It says that term was first used in the year 1890.
The first case of fake news in modern times is believed to have appeared in the year 1835. The then American newspaper, The Sun, claimed to have found life on the moon, and it also published some photographs.
Perhaps the world’s first fake news is associated with the Mahabharata period when Yudhishthira had disclosed the fake new of Ashwathama’s death before Guru Dronacharya, who then decided not to fight and was beheaded by Draupadi’s brother.
Now the question arises how to ascertains the truth behind any fake news. You just need to take some precautions. There are three sides to fake posts on social media. One who posted, the other service provider, and the third segment is of those who liked or shared the post.
To identify fake news, you should see from where the news has come, and from where did it start. After that, you should check the veracity of the news with the help of a search engine. Don’t share any news until you are confident about it. The sharing of fake news may put you behind the bar for 3 years under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000.