Rumour and gossip have been around for as long as mankind existed. Many a thrones have toppled, relationships broken, careers made or destroyed because of rumours. In olden days through word of mouth the rumours were spread from one person to another and like a classic case of Chinese whispers  everyone adding their own twist to it used to spread like wild fire across the town. 

But these days with the advent of technology rumours have got wings i.e. the social media. This Social media takes just hours even minutes for things to go viral. And everyone who reads it or sees the video believe it to be true without applying their mind. 

I have seen live examples of it. People I know who  see some edited video on YouTube and get enraged because so and so person said such and such thing that they took offence to. 

‘Wait a minute Bro! do you know for sure it happened?’

“Yes I saw it on the Internet’

My dear boy understand not everything you read on WhatsApp and watch on YouTube or Face Book or Instagram or Twitter is true. Even articles looking like authentic news website articles are not true at times. Just because there is a picture or a video with the article does not make it the truth.

‘What is it then?’

It is FAKE NEWS. Where deliberately hoaxes, rumours, misinformation is propagated as news. They are presented as factually correct news. And mostly propagated through social media. It is done by satirical news websites or individual websites with an incentive to propagate false information, either as clickbait or to serve a purpose

This kind of rumour mongering is done so professionally that at times it becomes difficult to differentiate between what is real and what is fake. 

The 2016 Presidential Election in the US were marred by so many articles giving fake news and rumours and I am sure must have affected the outcome.

In India if you may have noticed that if there are any chances of communal riots etc the Government first puts curb on Internet services as the rumour mongering and infuriating people with fake news is at its best during those times. 

During these difficult times of COVID Virus attack and lockdown everywhere, we are all feeding on the news we get from WhatsApp. All sorts of precautions and medicines and other means are being propagated. Some are true some don’t make sense at all. I have come across at least 5-6 conspiracy theories on who started the spread of Coronavirus. All of them cannot be true.

Let’s not be the educated illiterate. Let’s not fuel this fake news industry. They want us to fall prey to their designs. Let’s not be the graduates of ‘University of WhatsApp’. We need to be alert. Verify everything before forwarding on social media. If its not possible to verify please do not forward it. 

For latest news and updates follow only the News Channels. Please don’t propagate false information. Maybe we realise that its only a rumour or story going around but someone somewhere  out there is believing this to be true. And irreversibly changing his/her mindset.