There is no denying the fact that social media has revolutionalized the world of Internet. Thanks to the Social Media Moghuls like Mark Zuckerberg and others. It has transformed the ways of gathering news and information. The world is at your fingertips now.
But while counting on the pros, we shouldn’t forget the cons. While the access to news and information has become easier with the emergence of social media, the authenticity of these news sources is being questioned since long. How do you validate every information you get from social networking sites? And how do you decide what to believe and what to not? Remain the concerns.
Every other day we find something outrageous going viral on the Internet and people are being misguided with fake data and numbers packaged to draw attention. We have ample examples of how the Internet and social media can create a wave of reactions for or against a person or incident based purely on unapproved and fake information.
The JNU rout that became a point of the national debate centred around a doctored video, UNESCO declaring Jana Gana Mana as the best National Anthem was also a fake piece of news. Unesco never even declared Narendra Modi, the best Prime Minister In the world. Its not their job. We have a series of such news pieces that circulated for days and sometimes for weeks on various social platforms but turned out be a sham when probed.
Recently a WhatsApp forward created tensions among the Chennai locals. The hoax said ‘“Tamilnadu government has issued ‘Red Alert’ for 3 days. The mean temperature will be between 45.1 to 48.5 Celsius. Please drink 6-7 litres of water a day. Avoid going out in the open sun from 11 am to 4 pm.”
The news was so much circulated that Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had to clear the air itself by issuing an official statement denying any such Red Alert being issued earlier.
In the end, we will only say, On one hand, The Internet serves you with immediate news and gossip, and it is full of rumour and crap on the other. So, think before you believe and Examine before you decide what is true.
By Abhishek Dey