Do you source most of your information from the social media networks or online? If you do, and do not cross-check the authenticity of the news, please read on, or else, you can be in serious trouble!!!
So quite a lot has been going around with social media propagating a lot of misinformation or people misusing the social media to propagate a lot of fake news and information! And what’s worse is that a large number of people reading them have no clue that they are being taken on a free ride!!!
Let me start with a simple example. Most of us may have seen the video of the making of fake Chinese cabbage. In case you have not, click here! This has been doing rounds in Facebook and WhatsApp for many months now and even I stopped buying them fearing the fake one and the ill-effects of plastic / wax. And then, there were videos to show how you can make out the fake one from the original. I will come to that later! Just yesterday I saw this forwarded in a Facebook group and after going through a series of such fake videos and news (the fake egg one was another classic example! Those in Kochi / Kerala will remember that) it struck me that I never Googled it and checked what was the video all about. I am happy I did that and I came across this explanation – please go ahead and check it for yourself! For the lazy ones here’s the scoop – these are Japanese and not Chinese and they were made to be kept as samples and not to be sold as cabbages in vegetable stores!!!
All it needed was a simple Google search and there the information’s available. Even I found it silly not to have checked it long back! So coming back to the fake eggs issue that propped up in Kochi a few months before, 2 days after a mob destroyed the eggs stocked up in a couple of supermarkets the papers told that the eggs were not fake! I feel bad for the store owners, it is their hard earned money that the mob managed to destroy out of fury!!! And how did the mob confirm it was fake egg? Based on some Facebook videos that claimed to prove them fake!!!
When do we learn to use the technology in a constructive way? I believe even facebook is finding ways to cross-check the posts as most of the people use it to post such sick misinformation that misleads a lot of people.
Now when the entire nation (India) was running around to get their old notes exchanged or deposited, came a huge shocker that a Gujarati diamond merchant, who was in news recently for giving away extravagant Diwali gifts to his employees, had disclosed black money worth 6000 crore. This went viral too! And 2 days later, somewhere we read that it was fake. I bet that correction did not go viral!!!
There are a lot of anti-social elements in the society and a lot more jobless people who gain silly pleasure by propagating such misleading information. I request my fellow friends to first Google what you see in the social media and check for yourself what the actual situation is, before you forward such news. That’s why I am trying hard to forward only positive news that propagates in my social media feed. I have blocked many sites and groups that propagate such useless fake news every day to mislead people.
Now if you think what would they get by propagating fake news, please understand that the online world can be really mean!!! When the news media and channels are propagating biased news and misleading the people, why not the online media? Just as a higher viewership rewards the TV channels and newspapers as they sensationalize the news, the online videos and websites are also making money from the ads posted on their website! The more clicks and views they get, the more they get paid. And then some use such links to hack your system or to infect your system with viruses.
And then there are sites that post glorified stories. Unless it comes with real images of the people involved, they can be works of fiction too! All that matter to them are the subscriptions and the viewerships that convert into money for them. Trusting such sites or not is your individual choice. But when you forward it, you are vouching for something you have no clue about! Do you want to take a risk with your reputation? Use your sense and logic to analyze whether a story is true or not, whether you read it on paper or online, or watch it on TV.
There are exceptions, I agree. But more than often, the real information gets suppressed and the fake information gets appreciated and goes viral! Let us not make a fool of ourselves by falling prey to such posts. Let us not trust everything that comes online and on TV blindfoldedly. When we can Google it up and check, let’s better do it, before we start sharing.