Why in news?
- Recently ‘fake news’ has become a catch to discredit genuine stories that make the people in power uncomfortable. It has been co-opted to mean anything the reader or the observer doesn’t want to hear.
- Even while the US grapples with the issue of whether Russia influenced its elections, experts have warned that the Indian elections are at risk too.
What is fake news?
- Fake news is ‘news’ that has been created knowing full well that it isn’t true.
- It is not accidental or a genuine mistake. It isn’t even bias.
- It is a deliberate lie or a half-truth circulated with the intention to mislead people, or worse, cause harm to a section of people or a community.
- The most common fake stories revolve around politics and the attempt is to polarise society, particularly during political events.
- There is a variety of fake news that’s innocuous, made-up nonsense, which is circulated as jokes.
- There is also a form of fake news that can take lives — like it has been doing in India with such shocking regularity over rumours about child-lifters and cattle thieves.
Note- Unintentional errors must be pointed out, admitted to and corrected quickly and publicly, is not fake news.
Side-effects of Fake News
- They can gradually brainwash you into believing lies, or unfairly skew fair debate on crucial issues.
- They can lull you into believing that your illness will be cured if you follow that apple juice therapy you read about in a WhatsApp forward.
- More importantly, fake news leads to harassment and intimidation of innocent people and damages reputations.
Section : Miscellaneous