Dangerous outcome of it leading to violence and influencing election results It is no new information that social media has a very important role in sending out news to the public. However, everything has its pros and cons and this facility has a major setback, especially in the present times. Solely responsible for exploiting the functional logic of the social network, the spread of fictitious news is a dangerous weapon. It can have a very negative influence on society and its people. In fact, it is powerful enough to start riots, promote communal violence, form incorrect political opinions, and also affect the election campaigns.
Last year, Social networking giant Facebook came under scrutiny when it acknowledged that it had leaked user data to Cambridge Analytica which had influenced the US elections. Now political parties have started using these social platforms to propagate their own agenda. Sarvani Foundation was started in 2013, by BJP followers and teams’ members. The foundation went dormant in 2014 after BJP won elections by a huge margin. Now the foundation has become active again after 3 years as the Association of billion minds (ABM), after BJP suffered a major defeat in Bihar. It consists of an assembly of consultants and professionals whose sole purpose is to spread tons of fake information and influence India’s potential voters by keeping one man in the limelight always- Narendra Modi.
Social media giants like Facebook and Facebook owned WhatsApp have been trying to stop the spread of fake news on their network unsuccessfully. The spread of hate and misinterpreted information through WhatsApp led to increased number of deaths in the country. The Jharkhand case can be a major reference in this case where a video circulating in WhatsApp informed the people that suspected kidnappers are roaming around carrying towels, injections, cotton and sedatives which need to be reported to the police urgently. It resulted in mob lynching, killing around seven people in Jharkhand. In Assam, two tourists asking for directions had also been killed due to the same video.
Certain initiatives have been taken by Facebook for curbing down the spread of fake news on time, before the elections approach. They are even rating users on their reliability to combat fake news. However, when it comes to answering the questions regarding this, Facebook machinery fails big time since the two pages managed by ABM are the topmost spenders on Facebook with millions of followers. With outrageous posts and fake news, the media platform is buzzing showing political leaders in a positive light.
As India, the biggest democracy in the world gears up for its Election 2019, it remains on the shoulders of these tech giants to curb the spread of fake news, rather bring the reality to light so voters can make an informed decision!