The year 2020 was a testing time for many across the globe, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. While we had to mark ourselves safe from the deadly virus by taking precautions and necessary safety protocols but many did fall prey to this invisible predator in this internet friendly network that we live in, which is the ‘fake news’.
As much as people tried to restrain themselves from being struck with the ‘fake news’ fireballs, some too convincing news which spread like wildfire could not be helped with.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s social media chief Amit Malviya’s tweet on the farmers’ protest against the contentious farm laws was flagged as “manipulated media” by Twitter.
In February, the social media website had announced that it would start labelling tweets with false claims and issue a warning to the user, to combat misinformation and fake news.
So what was the tweet all about? On November 28, BJP leader Amit Malviya shared a video stating ‘propaganda vs reality’ from the farmers’ protest.
He posted the video in response to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi which showed a cop raising the baton to hit a farmer at the protest site.
He claimed that the farmer was escaped unhurt. But BoomLive and AltNews identified the farmer and posted a longer version of the clipped video which the BJP IT cell chief shared on the social media. This tweet was flagged as ‘manipulated media’ by Twitter.
Mass Migrant Exodus
Confusion and fear were filled in the hearts of many during the 21-day lockdown imposed by the Centre to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country.
While everyone tried their best to adapt to the situation, the migrant workers fearing the worst along with the panic created by the unprecedented situation ended up crowding and walking to their hometowns.
Scores of migrant workers from Delhi have started leaving for their respective hometowns in neighbouring states as they are left with no work and no money to make ends meet during the #CoronavirusLockdown.#21daylockdown #CoronavirusOutbreak pic.twitter.com/Xu7zp5QoC2— The New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) March 28, 2020
The migrant workers were worried about the adequate supply of basic amenities like shelter, food, clothing etc.
‘Fake News’ triggered panic and resulted in the mass exodus of the innocent migrant workers who left behind their jobs and homes to reach their hometowns.
Deaths were reported and the scenes of the mass exodus were compared to the situation when India and Pakistan were partioned in 1947.
Rajdeep Sardesai’s 'untimely tweet'
When former President Pranab Mukherjee was critical and battling for life, senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted that he passed away but deleted the tweet within minutes.
My Father Shri Pranab Mukherjee is still alive & haemodynamically stable !— Abhijit Mukherjee (@ABHIJIT_LS) August 13, 2020
Speculations & fake news being circulated by reputed Journalists on social media clearly reflects that Media in India has become a factory of Fake News .
The tweet sent shock waves and eventually, he was trolled and blamed him for peddling fake news. Pranab Mukherjee’s son and daughter clarified that the news was fake and requested people not to spread fake news.
My deep deep apologies for falling for fake news being circulated on Pranab Mukherjee passing away. I am deeply distraught for falling for this fake news.. it was unprofessional of me to not reconfirm it before tweeting. Apologies to all.. and prayers with the family..— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) August 13, 2020
Rajdeep later apologised for the tweet and admitted to falling for fake news that was being circulated on the Presidents’ death.
Kangana Ranaut’s fake tweet on Shaheen Bagh’s ‘Bilkis Dadi’
Actor Kangana Ranaut was trolled heavily by netizens for her remark on ‘Shaheen Bagh’s Dadi’ who was featured by the American weekly TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2020 for her participation in the anti-CAA protests.
Kangana’s tweet alleged that Bilkis Dadi was available for protests for Rs 100. Later the actor deleted her tweet after she was slammed for spreading fake news.
But what went wrong? Kangana Ranaut had falsely identified an old woman at the farmers’ protest as Shaheen Bagh’s Dadi.
Here are some reactions from the netizens, calling her out for the fake tweet.
This is a false claim by @KanganaTeam. She has now deleted her tweet. Do not forget how she's using her position to pull down and discredit those who are not privileged, and fighting for their rights. She is EXACTLY what she claims to be fighting against. pic.twitter.com/h1huGvf9Ki— Pratik Sinha (@free_thinker) November 28, 2020