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Fake news is travelling much faster than the coronavirus in India. In the light of the spread of misinformation regarding COVID-19 on social media networks, analyse the apprehensions associated with the spread of fake news in the present context. Propose suitable measures to tackle it.

Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges.

5. Fake news is travelling much faster than the coronavirus in India. In the light of the spread of misinformation regarding COVID-19 on social media networks, analyse the apprehensions associated with the spread of fake news in the present context. Propose suitable measures to tackle it. (250 words).

Reference: The Hindu 

Why this question:

Misinformation linked to supposed cures for COVID-19 and misleading claims have proliferated on social media networks. A video clip showed hundreds of patients in an OPD not wearing masks or observing social distancing norms, waiting for their turn while a man claiming to be a doctor was begging for help. As the video went viral, Victoria Hospital authorities dismissed it and said that the incident happened in a hospital in North India and not in Bengaluru.

Key demand of the question:

One must analyze the apprehensions associated with the spread of fake news in the present context.

Directive:

analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define fake news.

Body:

Explain Fake News pandemic in India:

India is not an exception to the virus of fake news. The world too is struggling with the deluge of misinformation about the evolving pandemic. The fake news surrounding the origin of the virus, its subsequent spread and threats it poses have nearly engulfed every nation, although with varied intensity.

In the light of the pandemic, the social media platforms have witnessed:

  • Misleading claims on supposed cures and posts related to ‘treatments’ that are not proven.
  • Medicine sales pitches or claims of techniques to prevent exposure and infection that are either not proven and/or filled with a lot of misleading information.
  • Conspiracy theories about the outbreak.
  • Instructions for individuals to stock up on supplies and food.
  • The misinformation about the pandemic has been deadly. False reports have appeared in numerous countries.
  • an influential study by the Vaccine Confidence Project (VCP) found more than 240 million digital and social media messages globally on COVID-19 by mid-March, at an average of 3.08 million daily messages. A vast majority of these messages were found to be false or very misleading in their intent.

Discuss the concerns involved:

issue of panic buying, claims can cause confusion among the public, discrimination of vulnerable sections, mob lynching etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable measures to tackle the issue.

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