Fake news & misinformation on Indo-Pak tension flood the social media


New Delhi: The intensifying tension between India and Pakistan since Tuesday’s air strike has turned the social media into a virtual battlefield and fact-checkers are left grappling with a deluge of misinformation and fake news.

Tweets from #BalakotAirStrike #BringbackAbhinandan, #SayNoToWar, #MiG21, #F16, #PakFakeClaim #PakistanPM had been trending all through Wednesday with unabated exchange of barbs from both sides of border. Videos of previous air-shows and photos of crashing fighter jets were being peddled as latest from both the countries on various platforms.

“We saw a huge rush post the Pulwama attacks and since the Balakot air strike, several stories were fact-checked on Tuesday itself, including that of woman pilots being in charge of the operation and some old images and videos going around. There’s a lot of panic on the social media since the aggressive stance taken by Pakistan on Wednesday. It’s going to be a big challenge as this is the first such cross-border aggression between the two countries, which is playing out live on the social media,” said Jency Jacob, managing editor of fact-checking website BOOM, which works in partnership with Facebook.

Jacob said all kinds of misinformation was floating around, including a video of anti-aircraft guns being ferried and seized in Mumbai which was found to be incorrect after checking with Mumbai police.

“A video which went viral was of fighter jets destroying some location. It was found to be a video game clip. There are other videos of jubilant soldiers which had nothing to do with this event. There are lots of old crash photos circulating as IAF fighter jets being shot down by Pakistan. All old videos and photos will show up on people’s feed over the next few days,” he said.

READ  Along came a Whatsapp trojan

Mails sent to Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp on steps taken to pull out content did not elicit a response till press time. Hashtags like India and Pakistan and F-16 had generated over 2.21 lakh tweets and 89,000 tweets till Wednesday evening.

graph

“We do not allow coordinated attempts to manipulate our service, and take proactive steps to ensure we’re removing networks of accounts engaged in this behavior,” said a Twitter spokesperson but did not share specific details.

“Everyone has a role to play in ensuring misinformation doesn’t spread online and we encourage people to use media literacy best practices and not to share information unless they can verify that it is true,” the spokesperson added.

On the Check4Spam website, a non-profit entity that verifies posts on social media, the web traffic, or the number of people coming to the website to fact-check stories, jumped 79% on February 26 from a month ago. Founder Shammas Oliyath said WhatsApp was the main harbinger of misinformation as per their website.

“There are lots of fake messages and content on WhatsApp as expected. The media is also picking up information without verifying. They have taken an old Pakistani video and are showing it as an Indian strike video from Balakot. The Pakistani side has used our old Jodhpur fighter jet crash video as their video of shooting down an Indian fighter jet,” Oliyath said.

“Ever since the Pulwama attack, it has been crazy for the fact-checkers. We have been bombarded through various channels. It is a non-stop deluge,” Alt News founder Pratik Sinha said.





READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here