Back in 1565 AD, due to lack of communication system, the reporting of the delivery of a child by queen was done using drum beats from a distant place to King Akbar. Later on; the marvellous inventions of telegraph, telephone, wireless telegraphy, television, radio, fax, internet, world wide web and much more have revolutionized the entire functioning of this world.
The time required to travel miles to deliver a message in the past is astonishingly reduced to the time required to tap a button. People can easily communicate, business leaders worldwide can organize online conferences, anyone can watch a live incident through the screens in their homes, anyone can get access to huge amount of knowledge through internet, anyone can send a written message, images, videos and what not. But in the quest of achieving the highest potential of technological advancement, humans are nearing a saturation point!
Today, internet have surpassed some of the biggest libraries of the world. The web browsers provides users information’s overflow through numerous web pages on almost every topic, YouTube’s videos have no end, online newsgroups are unstoppably posting news and speaking about social media; ah! It’s like a cherry on our information’s cake. But beware, this cake is not too sweet; it is cunningly baked with misconceptions, willingly garnished to intensify the hunger of hatred and deftly served in a rusted plate painted with sarcasm.
Today the information we scroll through, news’s whose headlines our in our heads might be another instance of FAKE news leading to formation of ideologies through hoaxes, beliefs through misconceptions. Fake news have been spreading like a wildfire in 21st century. In today’s techno savvy world, 55.1% of the world population use internet (source); making it quite easier for them to access information in comparison to the conventional way. With more than 2 billion people on Facebook (source); the ability of spreading a fake message through Facebook is just a child’s play, many online news platforms are also posting appealing and false news with the sole motive of increasing traffic and revenues. But this in turn is making the online scenario vulnerable. With 200 million monthly active users, rumours spread from this messaging app(WhatsApp) in India have killed around 24 people (source), the rumours on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms have affected the 2016 presidential election of US to an unimaginable extent, the fake news through digital media is downsizing of Canadian newspapers and impacting Canada’s democracy, fake news have also impacted the 2014 and 2017 presidential elections of Indonesia and France respectively, there had been a rise in violence against Muslims due to fake news pertaining to supporting rohingyas in Myanmar (source). Individuals like celebrities, sportsperson, jewellers, writers, scientists have been victims of fake news.
Infact, there are professional fake news makers who are leaving no stone unturned towards generating a fake news disguised in the looks of realistic ones. Sometimes, experts are baffled pertaining to the identification of a news.
And in today’s fast paced world, people are reluctant to read the entire article and try to comprehend the entire matter with a sentence – HEADLINE. Headlines, on the other hand are misleading thus increasing the spread of misconceptions. Also, without checking a piece of write-up or a headline, people are active enough to share it with the world thus contributing towards the spread of fake news.
But how can we combat fake news? When the information is so huge, resources are many and awareness is little; it indeed is a challenge for us to beat the ever-growing beast of fake news. Having researched about the impacts of fake news; I would suggest some of my innovative ways to combat and curb the fake news :
- ‘T’ before ‘B’
Though the conventional dictionaries have the letter ‘B’ before ‘T’; we need to bring in practice, Thinking before Believing a particular news we read. If we venture towards the path of thought process, if we question the accuracy of the existence of news, if we think about the contradictions of the write-up with the reality; I believe we can end up eradicating the falsifying beliefs we had buried in our minds and surely give no room for new misconceptions to enter.
- ‘R’ before ‘F’
Again; we need to break the conventional rules of dictionary and Recheck before Forwarding. In the ongoing trend of forwarding messages on the go without even pondering over the content, we need to step ahead, break the norm and recheck if the information we are sharing is worth sharing or not, if the information we are sharing is from a genuine and authentic source or not. Sharing is a virtue, but carelessness can make it a vice. So, rechecking the information before forwarding it; not only holds the potential to stop the spread of fake news but also can save citizens from the deadly threat of hackers sending viruses through such messages. Also, technology giants have taken a step towards mitigating the ease of forwarding messages.
Reading a news from a source shouldn’t make you 100% sure about the news. Checking out other resources, having discussions with your friends, family or teachers is always a good choice. This will help you to intake right news and not fake views.
The most complex thing of this world is a human’s mind. Feeding it with right information will boost its speed but giving it frequent doses of misinformation will make it go haphazardly fast in a wrong direction. Combating fake news is the necessity and responsibility of every internet user in general. One shouldn’t forget that it’s not the fake news makers but we readers who are actually spreading the news.
So let us all take a step ahead to research the news before believing it and a step back to recheck the news before sharing it. Soon our collective efforts would make internet a key to wisdom’s treasure wherein fake news cannot foster!
Author Bio : Poorva Mahesh Shukla, a 17 years old student from Kalyan, Mumbai. She is the winner of Monthly International Essay Contest (below 18 years category), organized by #Monomousumi, month of January,2019.She won a Trophy , e-Certificate and Italy Travel Box as prize sponsored by Wanderquest.