During the campaigning of the last US presidential election, a ‘news’ created a rage among the voters. On an unknown website, the first thing was shared that Pope Francis has supported Donald Trump, the Republican candidate. The news was written in such a reliable way that people felt that it has happened. More than 10 lakh people shared and liked this news on Facebook.
This news was not on any established media platform. But during the election, the information or disinformation that was seen and carried forward by the people, was the news. This happened when it was clearly said to the Pope and the Vatican that the Pope does not support or oppose any political party or candidate.
There is no information about the people who run this fake news website. This website is now closed. This site clearly writes in its about us that it is a satire or satirical website. Despite this, people trusted this misinformation and brought it to each other. Another such news became very viral that Clinton sold weapons to IS.
Buzzfeed studied the most read 20 news and 20 fake news during the US elections and said that 20 news reports on fake or biased websites got more than 8.7 million likes, shares, comments and reactions on Facebook, while the news established during that time The most read 20 news stories of websites got 73 lakh shares, likes, comments and reactions. It is interesting that out of these 20 fake news, there are 17 that were written in favor of Trump, while there are only 3 that tried to benefit Clinton.
This is a matter of 2016 and it all happened in America far away from India. A similar flood of fake news has also come in Britain. When a referendum was held in Britain about whether to stay in the European Union or leave. It is also known as Brexit.
The most worrying thing was found in ‘Fake News’ which came during the US elections and the Bracket that the source of many of these were outside these countries. In the US elections, the work of running and viraling fake news was being done from Macedonia and Russia. Sources of many fake news were found in Russia even during the breakthrough. Such role of another country in elections puts the whole idea of democracy at risk because information and news have a big role in forming people’s opinion during elections. Many researches have been done in this world and the role of media in agenda setting has also become a theory.
Information, Rumor, Falsehood and Public Opinion
Actually this time is the time of ‘information disorder’ across the world. By ‘information disorder’, there is an increase in the incidence of creation, production and distribution of fake news. It has emerged as a global problem. The seriousness of this problem is further increased when an external country tries to influence the election issues of one country through the internet / social media. Russia’s intervention in the 2016 US elections is one example of this. At the same time, the news of fake news during the time of the Brajjit affected people’s voting continuously. There are concerns about UNESCO to the European Union.
In Britain, the House of Commons has done a study of this and the House Committee has said in its report that strict rules need to be made to stop ‘fake news’. Not only this, media institutions like BBC etc. are also taking initiative to counter misinformation.
In place of fake news, many organizations are using words like ‘Miss Information’, ‘Disinformation’, Information-Disorder or ‘Malinformation’. The main reason for this is the use of the term ‘fake news’ in a political way. The term fake news was used indiscriminately by US President Donald Trump.
Whatever news the Donald Trump dislikes or is displeased with any media institution, they call it fake news. They have said this so many times that now the word fake news has lost its meaning. Therefore, in the coming days, those who want to oppose fake news, they have to use another word instead of fake news.
There are 3 main stages or stages of fake news:
Source / Creator- Fake news can also be sponsored by the government, any political party can also build it, religion contractors can also do it. Even those who earn money just by making the news viral can also create fake news.
Production- The idea of fake news may be someone else is giving, but the picture or word that gives them the form of video, that is, the content they are preparing, is the stage of production.
Distribution – Now comes the stage to spread fake news. Fake news is spread in many cases by the same people who make it. It may also play the role of machine identita bot. But this is not always necessary. Maybe some political or religious group should give money to people and spread fake news through them. That is, the source and distributor can be one and also different. Fake news also spreads to the general public. This work happens knowingly and unknowingly. Deliberately spread people who are associated with a particular ideology. Unknowingly, those who spread it do not know that it is fake.
Since India is now going through the era of information revolution, and more than 500 million people are in the internet, then the danger of this is real that there may be an attempt to influence elections in India also through fake news. Its risk in India is also high because unlike western countries, educated people are less in India. Internet literacy from the top is very low here. Those who have become literate, ie those who can sign their own or those who are illiterate, can also forward the message on their WhatsApp, which can be fake news. People unable to read text can also be affected by videos and photos.
In Indian elections, fake news or ‘disinformation’ can take the form of a big problem.