Time to wake up dear Netizens. Say NO to Fake News!

13th November 2016 at 5:44 pm

India has the second largest internet user base in the world following China. Thanks to rising smartphone penetration and cheaper data rates, the number of internet users in India would cross 500 million (50 crores) by the end of 2016 according to estimates by Department of Telecommunications, Government of India.
Now that every smartphone user has Facebook and WhatsApp installed, it is obvious that social media has become an inseparable part of our daily lives. In March 2016, Facebook claimed it had 69 million (6.9 crores) daily active mobile users out of 142 million daily active users in India. Every social media user therefore has great power in his/her hands. Posts have the potential to go viral within hours.
However, “With great power comes great responsibility”. It is the responsibility of every netizen to verify the authenticity of content and source before sharing it on social media. Several “fake/hoax” news websites make fake/satirical/bogus content that is often mistaken to be true by many unsuspecting users on social media.

Examples for such websites in India are:

  • fakingnews.firstpost.com
  • theunrealtimes.com
  • farzinews.com
  • teekhimirchi.in

These Fake news sites are just clickbait. So, the next time you see a post from these website, be assured the news is just a satirical comedy/fake news or a hoax.
What is Clickbait?
Any content on the internet that has sensational/provocative titles and eye-catching photographs, whose main purpose is to attract users to a particular webpage aimed at generating online advertising revenue, is termed Clickbait.

HatkeStory would like to draw every netizen’s attention to few fake pictures and articles doing the rounds on social media that people ought to be aware of.
Fake News: NASA Image of India during Diwali
Many users on Twitter and Facebook have been posting this image every year during Diwali thinking that India appears that way at night during Diwali when looked at from space.

Food for thought: If it really were a picture of India celebrating Diwali, we wonder why people could not notice that illumination is more in Indian States of J&K, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh than other parts of India. It is like people of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bengal and Orissa have stopped celebrating Diwali. Its funnier that our friendly neighbour Pakistan (pun intended) is celebrating Diwali more than India. It is easy to observe that Islamabad and Lahore are illuminated similar to Delhi. C’mon People! You ought to think before sharing such posts.
Truth: The image is a composite created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2003 intended to show population growth in India over time. The white lights depict populations centered before 1992, while different colours depict the movement of people.
Fake News: Mahatma Gandhi dancing with a foreign woman
The Indian internet space has its share of Gandhi Haters and conspiracy theorists. There are videos on youtube and articles bashing Gandhi saying he was a womanizer and showing the following images as proof.

Food for thought: One can clearly note how muscular and well-built the imposter of Gandhi looks in the picture with a lady. The second instance is even more appalling where the original image of Gandhi with Nehru is photo-shopped to turn it to something that is outright disrespectful.

Truth: The picture shows an Australian actor dressed as Gandhi dancing at a charity event in Sydney.
Fake News: This is a picture of Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam during his final moments
Truth: The picture shows the then President of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam who tripped and fell on the dais at a public event (Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards, 2007). Dr Kalam passed away due to a cardiac arrest while addressing a gathering at IIM Shillong on July 27, 2015 and this picture is in no way related to his last moments.
Few more news headlines that took India for a ride:

  • Photos of 3/5 headed snake (you can add as many as you want you know)
  • Jana Gana Mana declared best anthem by UNESCO (common on WhatsApp around Republic & Independence days)
  • Frooti can contain HIV – Delhi Police (hilarious)
  • Ramar Pillai and his Herbal Petrol
  • Plastic in Kurkure
  • The Ganesha Milk Miracle (ever heard of capillary action)
  • The latest hoax: Every new Rs. 2000 currency note is embedded with a NGC (Nano GPS Chip)

Here is a portion of the message that did the rounds on WhatsApp:
“When a Satellite sends a signal requesting location the NGC reflects back the signal from the location, giving precise location coordinates, and the serial number of the currency back to the satellite, this way every NGC embedded currency can be easily tracked & located even if it is kept 120 meters below ground level. The NGC can’t be tampered with or removed without damaging the currency note”

Even a prominent TV Anchor was explaining this on TV without checking the authenticity of the source.

Food for thought: GPS receivers calculate the position by comparing information received from multiple satellites. No information is transferred back to the satellite from your mobile phone when you use GPS enabled navigation apps.

Truth: It is a baseless rumor spreading on WhatsApp and other social media. The RBI officials had dismissed these claims as false.
So folks, all we are trying to say is: Put your knowledge and sense into thinking before believing anything being shared on social media. It is our responsibility to check the authenticity of content.