Many of us spend a lot of time on WhatsApp.
Why do we do that?
Because the very nature of WhatApp offers us content (articles, videos etc.) which validates our way of thinking. For example, if I hold a certain political/social/religious view, I can easily connect with like-minded people or join a group on WhatsApp; and I get an unending supply of content which confirms my views. The content may be far from facts or may be highly inaccurate; but since it is in line with my way of thinking (or how I want to see the World), I keep consuming the content. It is like discussing politics or religion or anything else ONLY with friends who hold a similar view.
This very nature of WhatsApp or Facebook, makes them a fertile place for the circulation of fake news, lies, exaggerated views, wrong endorsements and rumors.
Even the most skeptical of readers fall into one these traps of fake news, lies and rumors.
For example, if I hold a belief (it doesn’t need to be misplaced, it can also be true) that there was a massive loss of jobs or non-creation of new jobs or high rates of unemployment during a certain period of time (last two or 5 years); then I also become equally prone into believing some WhatsApp or Facebook Share which says : India sees 50 percent unemployment rate in last 5 years OR; Zero jobs were created in last One year. There is high likelihood that I want to share such a content because it is making a claim which I want to believe. But as it can be seen, the claims made by both pieces of content are inaccurate because neither 50 percent unemployment rate nor ZERO jobs creation claim can be True.
In the same way, many WhatsApp forwards claim Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Ashok Gahlot …etc. etc. having Rupees 20,00,000 Crore, Rupees 30 Lakh Crore in Swiss Bank. But can such claims be true? … Is it possible for any politician in India to have such BIG amounts of money stacked in some so and so Bank. It is NOT possible because the total annual budget Of India is Rupees 23-24 Lakh Crore. Hence, all such articles are FAKE.
Another example. It is usually said by a certain group of people that Mughal Emperor Aurangzed got built Palaces and Forts by killing 30 crore people of a certain religion. Such forwards are a usual staple on WhatsApp. Again such forwards are FAKE NEWS. Why? Because during early 1600s, the entire population of India would be not more than 1.5 crore. How is it possible for any king to kill more people than the total population.
Now it doesn’t mean that some article lowering the number in Aurangzeb’s heinous deed claim to 30 Lakhs becomes believable. Even that article will remain FAKE content. Why? Because only a fool emperor will kill all his people, and have no one left to recruit in his royal army.
In last few days, Fake WhatsApp forwards and rumors took Cyclone Fani even to those areas which were not officially alerted by the Indian meteorological department. As a result, the people in these safe regions have to bear unnecessary stress. These rumors had a counter effect as well. Those who officially fell into the path of the cyclone, treated the official warnings as yet another WhatsApp rumor.
The latest victims of WhatsApp Fake news universe happen to be the CBSE Class 10 students awaiting their result. Courtesy rumors arising from WhatsApp, Facebook Fake news, the result is being declared today. But according to the official clarification from CBSE, the students have still some more day(s) to wait. The clarification has come from Rama Sharma, PRO CBSE, which reads: