Fake news on social media: You are being made a fool, again and again!

What a shocking image, isn’t it?

Now, see this:

Do you believe everything you see on the social networking sites you use? Every quote, fact, news, views, picture, video? And is it that anything funny, interesting, seemingly useful, sensational gets from you an instant Like, Share, Favourite, Retweet etc.? I have one word for you. BEWARE. You are being made a fool, again and again.

Social media is no longer just a tool for building social connections. It is a mighty power. Where there is a mighty power, crooks always manage to find a way to abuse it and use it as a tool for their selfish gains. Same is the case with social networking sites.

Proliferation of Fake News on Social Media:

Social networks and free messaging services offer a huge platform for promotion and distribution of facts, information, as well as lies and gossip. Social networks have now become a tool of spreading propaganda. So much so that they are now posing a threat to our country’s unity and peace. Hateful messages maligning communities and people are much too common. And public is falling an easy prey to them. The recent spate of mob lynching is just one of the effects of fake news and hateful messages on social media. People are just too ready to share anything that is sensational, shocking, disgusting, inciting anger in the guise of religious or patriotic duty. Social media is also becoming a health hazard, thanks to the proliferation of all the free health advice and home remedies floating on it.

Be careful of what you forward:

Distorted facts, morphed pictures, doctored videos etc. are readily let loose on the social media platform by people with ulterior motives or those who have too much time at their hands and nothing better to do. These are lapped up happily by public. Liking, sharing, forwarding these social media messages is much too easy. Many people don’t even read or view the whole message before forwarding it.  Nobody bothers to check out if what is being forwarded has any truth in it or not. And then such posts, true or not, spread like wildfire and become facts for thousands.

Beware of fake news:

Of course, liking or sharing such posts is not a crime. But spreading of lies can never be good for any society. And today, there are far too many spam, scams, and fake information floating about on our social networks and free messaging services. The blind belief in them might lead to a grave loss and injury to you. And it can very easily lead to large-scale violence.

So, BEWARE. Be very aware.

Checking the truth is easy:

All it takes is a little googling.

So, next time you come across any information, picture, video etc that looks too striking to you, take a moment before liking, sharing or tweeting it. Just copy some portion of the post (first sentence works in most cases), or the title. Add the words ‘Scam,’ ‘Spam’ or ‘Fraud’ with the selected text, and Google. You are sure to find the truth about that information or misinformation.

Proliferation of fake news, scams, spam and misinformation on social media is a grave risk not just to people but also to the social fabric of India. Preventing their spread just takes a bit of carefulness. Don’t let such fake news and messages dupe you. Be very careful before believing and forwarding any message that appears too wonderful or too shocking. Most likely, it will either be a complete lie, or gross exaggeration or full of distorted facts. So, if you are not 100% sure about the truth of a message, don’t forward it. Simple.

Be a responsible citizen. Stop the spread of lies.

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