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Discuss the link between social media gratification and misinformation. Also explain the ill-effects of it while suggesting solutions.

Topic :  role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

6. Discuss the link between social media gratification and misinformation. Also explain the ill-effects of it while suggesting solutions. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu Live Mint 

Why the question:

The question is amidst rising incidences of fake news by India media.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the issue with media, specifically the issue of misinformation; the factors responsible for it and discuss the concerns associated with social media gratification and suggest solutions to address the same.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

One can introduce the answer by quoting a fact or two suggesting the context of the question. An MIT study has found social media’s built-in craving for likes is affecting our ability to objectively analyze the accuracy of online news before clicking ‘share’.

Body:

Start first by explaining what social media gratification and why it often leads to misinformation.  Misinformation and disinformation spread in media is becoming a serious social challenge. It is leading to the poisonous atmosphere on the web and causing riots and lynchings on the road. In the age of the internet (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter,) it is a serious problem as rumours, morphed images, click-baits, motivated stories, unverified information, planted stories for various interests spread easily among 35 crore internet users in India. There have been many instances of online rumours leading to killings of innocent people. In some cases, ministers have deleted tweets after realizing the fake news which they shared earlier. Discuss some of the popular examples in India. Hint at the laws that seek to address the issue, suggest solutions to overcome it.

Conclusion:

Conclude that countering content manipulation and fake news to restore faith in social media without undermining internet and media freedom will require public education, strengthening of regulations and effort of tech companies to make suitable algorithms for news curation.