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Details

Fake News Galore In India Even As Coronavirus Pandemic Rages Through The Country

By Debdutta Ghosh

Courtesy: check4spam.com

Apart from the herculean task of fighting the coronavirus, India authorities are also now for ced to fight the menace of coronavirus related misinformation and fake news being circulated in the country through multiple social media platforms. 

Ranging from offering unverified home remedies to tackle the virus, to suggesting fake advisories urging people not to consume foods such as ice cream and chicken to sharing conspiracy theories on the virus, the Indian social media has been flooded with fake and misleading information.

  For example, a fake advisory from the UNICEF got circulated throughout India that asked people to avoid consuming ice creams and other cold foods while urging people to frequently wash of clothes since “corona virus when it falls on the fabric remains nine hours”. 

For example, a fake advisory from the UNICEF got circulated throughout India that asked people to avoid consuming ice creams and other cold foo ds while urging people to frequently wash of clothes since “corona virus when it falls on the fabric remains nine hours”. Another advisory on social media quoted doctors recommending intake of heavy doses of Vitamin C while another listed out how the virus can be detected at home. And one particularly foolish advisory warned people to “not hold your thirst because once your membrane in your throat is dried, the virus will invade into your body within 10 minutes.”Such misinformation and fake news prompted the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to appeal to citizens – urging them not heed to rumours surrounding Covid-19 – the disease caused by coroavirus.For example, a fake advisory from the UNICEF got circulated throughout India that asked people to avoid consuming ice creams and other cold foods while urging people to frequently wash of clothes since “corona virus when it falls on the fabric remains nine hours”. 

Another advisory on social media quoted doctors recommending intake of heavy doses of Vitamin C while another listed out how the virus can be detected at home. And one particularly foolish advisory warned people to “not hold your thirst because once your membrane in your throat is dried, the virus will invade into your body within 10 minutes.”

Incidentally, there have been some incidents in various parts of India in which doctors and health care workers were attacked by irate mobs when they had gone to check on coronavirus infection cases. While no official confirmation has been issued about the cause of such incidents, it is being suspected that misinformation and fake news on social media – particularly closed WhatsApp groups, could be the source of such mob hysteria.

Such misinformation and fake news prompted the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to appeal to citizens – urging them not heed to rumours surrounding Covid-19 – the disease caused by coronavirus. 

The top court of the country – the Supreme Court, also intervened and ordered the Federal government to set up a portal within 24 hours so that real time information on the coronavirus pandemic could be accessed by people, thereby helping to counter the panic spread through fake news.

The government on its part has asked the top social media companies in India, including Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, ShareChat and Twitter, to take measures to curb the spread of misinformation on Covid-19.

The situation triggered by fake news and misinformation has even forced Indian authorities to strictly implement legal provisions on people spreading such fake news and misinformation on social media. 

A woman in Kolkata was recently arrested for allegedly posting fake news about a doctor working at a state-run hospital. The police claimed that the 29-year-old woman had posted on her social media account information that a doctor working at the largest government hospital fighting Cobid-19 in Kolkata had been infected with the virus while treating patients afflicted with the disease. The police traced down the doctor to find that the post on the social media by the woman was absolutely false. Consequently the woman was arrested under the IT Act. 

In a similar incident, a 32-year-old man was arrested in Odisha for allegedly spreading fake news on coronavirus. Police said that the man had posted about a Kerala-returned person on Facebook, and claimed that the person had tested positive for coronavirus and was under treatment. The arrested man claimed that he had received the information on a WhatsApp group. Police later found the claims to be false. 

Fake news and misleading information on social media also made two top doctors 0of the country feel completely helpless. Medanta Medicity’s Dr. Naresh Trehan and Narayana Health’s Dr Devi Shetty found that fake news regarding them was being circulated on social media. 

In the case of Dr. Shetty, a famous cardiac surgeon, a fake audio clip in his name about prevention of the deadly virus had gone viral on Instagram. The hospital that Dr. Shetty founded was forced to post on Twitter to clarify that the audio clip was not of Dr. Shetty and that it had been wrongly attributed to him.

A similar fake viral message in the name of Dr Trehan became viral on social media which claimed the doctor saying that a national emergency will soon be declared and hence people should rush to collect cash, food and medicines. The doctor had to post a clarification on social media to claim that the message attributed to his name was “absolutely incorrect”.

Fake news circulating on social media – specifically closed WhatsApp groups, had resulted in multiple incidelnts of lynching and violence last year where people from the minority and dalit communities were particularly targeted. 

Incidentally, there have been some incidents in various parts of India in which doctors and health care workers were attacked by irate mobs when they had gone to check on coronavirus infection cases. While no official confirmation has been issued about the cause of such incidents, it is being suspected that misinformation and fake news on social media – particularly closed WhatsApp groups, could be the source of such mob hysteria.

Analysts and security experts have warned that a strict check on such fake news now is needed to be imposed immediately in order to prevent repeat of such incidents – particularly because the coronavirus issue is a more widespread and serious one. 

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Top

India News Brief

 1 June, 2020

India Records Highest Single Day Increase of 8,392 Cases

India's COVID-19 Figure Reaches 1,91,041 Death Toll: 5,413

India's Most Affected States:

Maharashtra: Total Positive Cases:67,655 Total Deaths: 2,286

Gujarat: Total Positive Cases: 16,794 Total Deaths: 1,038

Madhya Pradesh: Total Positive Cases: 8,089 Total Deaths: 350

West Bengal: Total Positive Cases: 5,501 Total Deaths: 317

Delhi: Total Positive Cases: 19,844  Total Deaths: 473

Rajasthan: Total Positive Cases: 8,980 Total Deaths: 194

Uttar Pradesh: Total Positive  Cases: 7,823 Total Deaths: 213

Tamil Nadu : Total Positive Cases: 22,333 Total Deaths: 173

Andhra Pradesh: Total Positive Cases: 3,679 Total Deaths: 62

Telengana: Total Positive Cases: 2,698 Total Deaths: 82 

Karnataka: Total Positive Cases: 3,221 Total Deaths: 51

Punjab: Total Positive Cases: 2,263 Total Deaths: 45

Jammu and Kashmir: 2,446 Total Deaths: 28

Lockdown extends till June 30

  • International air travel, Metro rail services not allowed 

Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and, social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations will not allowed.

  • Places of worship, hotels will open from June 8 with specific guidelines.

According to MHA guidelines, in Phase II, schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and Union Territories.

There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission or approval or e-permit will be required for such movement

But  states have the freedom to decide on public movement.

COVID-19: Delhi Death Toll Rises to 82 in Last 24 Hours

Probable Guidelines for Lockdown 5.0.

More travel routes are likely to open in Lockdown 5.0.

From June 1, the Railways will operate 100 pairs of mail or express trains, bookings have already begun. Then AC class services will resume.

Some states have already begun intra-state buses. Other states may  begin intra-tate bus services after June 1.Metro  services may begin in a limited manner, with lesser passenger capacity, social distancing norms and longer stops at each station.

Shops selling non-essential items were allowed to open during Lockdown 4.0.. More shops may open in Lockdown 5.0 even in markets.But no confirmed news regarding opening of shopping malls.Now many shops that have re-opened in market areas are operating on an odd-even basis.

Some cities have already allowed salons and beauty parlours to open with strict social distancing guidelines and wearing protective gear is a must.In containment areas the same rule may prevail in Lockdown 5.0.

The Human Resource Development Ministry of India will soon announce the guidelines of   schools reopening.

How to identify Fake News or Messeges on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they are developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

 

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+919073399779

COVID-19 Related Conspiracy Theories:
https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/china-covid19

 

 

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