What is fake news?

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.
  • Examples:
  • 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