• Ankuran Dutta

#CheckTheFake-4 : It’s not a cup of tea, but a WhatsApp ‘forward’ that our morning starts with today

April 4, 2020



And this ‘forward’ further multiplies as people are locked up in their homes these days due to the outbreak of #COVID19.

A number of WhatsApp forwards started to make its round immediately after the Prime Minister in his address to the people on Friday morning urged them to light lamps and diyas to end the darkness of #COVID19 while appreciating the nation’s efforts during the 21-day lockdown.

The ‘forwards’ tries to flatter PM Modi’s appeal and contextualize it with some pseudo-science in the similar way as fake news about “clapping noise would kill #COVID19” was widely forwarded after his last address to the Nation where he had asked the citizens to show admiration and laud efforts by people in the frontline by clapping at 5 pm.

Unlike facebook, WhatsApp underlying encryption mode makes it tough to handle the challenge of rumors unless it is reported by the active authors of the content.

Due to end-to-end encryption in WhatsApp, government is also unable to stop and punish people spreading fake news or misinformation; and it is more of a serious concern as the number of times a WhatsApp message forwarded is doubled, even tripled than the number of creation of fake contents. And with the access of WhatsApp on the personal computer makes it more convenient for the users to go for the ‘forward’ option easily without giving any second thought to it.

So, one who forwards the fake content without any cross check is more liable to punishment than the one who simply create these contents.

Though, WhatsApp limited the number of times a user can forward a message to five with labeled as ‘forwarded’, it does not have any effect on the users as it’s other benefits like up to 256 people can be part of a group chat that involves people making plans, sharing jokes, receiving news and catching up propaganda messages and videos, apart from the encryption mode makes it incredible and at the same time dangerous too.

#CheckTheFake on #COVID19

Fake: “Corona viruses don't survive in hot temperature, as per research by NASA. If 130 candles are lit together, the temperature will increase by 9 degrees as per IIT professor. So, Corona will die at 9:09 PM on Sunday. Masterstroke by Modi” (a WhatsApp forward message quoted).

Fact: NASA is a space research organization and hasn’t conducted any research on COVID-19 yet. But both NASA and ESA are looking for funding research on COVID-19. NASA’s Earth sciences division is soliciting proposals for “rapid response and novel research” related to the coronavirus pandemic. While, ESA seeks proposals for a project called “Space in response to COVID-19 outbreak” in cooperation with the Italian government. Moreover, WHO revealed that the rise of 9 degrees temperature is irrelevant, as COVID-19 is spreading in places with hot and humid weather.

#CheckTheFake is a movement against #Infodemic in this crisis, initiated by Dr Anamika Ray Memorial Trust #ARMT (www.armt.in) in collaboration with The Assam Tribune and Northeast Now (www.nenow.in) to create awareness on #fakenews on #Coronavirus and improve media literacy through #Cartoons. ARMT Research

Visit:

The Assam Tribune at- http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/at.asp?id=apr0420/Page5

NE Now- https://nenow.in/health/checkthefake-4-whatsapp-forwards-and-the-impact.html


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