Saturday , 17 November 2018
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Fake News Is A Social Monster

PACHU MENON, MARGAO

WITH the Internet and social media having created a hyper interconnectedness among people, the type of false messages circulating these days is indeed a cause of extreme worry and anxiety. Having fueled a surge in unwanted and misleading information, fake news is a social monster that has posed a unique challenge for the police and society. People addicted to the net and various web-based and android applications are known to lap up anything dished out in the domain of the social media and without applying their minds to the veracity of the news think nothing of making the whole episode viral in record time. The fake news of child lifters who purportedly harvested the organs of the kidnapped created so much panic in parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana that paying heed to rumours, reports of lynching and other ‘public measures’ posed a mob crisis for the police there. Not to say that the effects have not been all that volatile closer to home here in Goa! Some days back the news of the rape and murder of a nurse at Hospicio Hospital, Margao, in its premises shocked the locals. When it was however clarified that no such incident took place at the hospital, the folly of the whole matter left many concerned citizens livid with rage. Likewise with the monsoon knocking at the doors, the social media was abuzz with photographs of the leaking roof in the passenger terminal of the Dabolim airport. With the housekeeping staff mopping and removing pales of water from the flooded lobby, it was a pathetic scene that left nothing much to imagination. Having bombarded various messaging apps for a couple of hours, it finally turned out that the subject in contention was not the Dabolim airport at all! But the damage was already done! The onus of a bad name is difficult for a tourist destination that boasts of the largest number of footfalls in the country to bear. But people in their haste and eagerness to ‘forward’ such messages received forget that a little bit of prudence could save the day for everyone. As so rightly said, the social media has acted as a soft conduit for fake news and its perpetrators to flourish. It’s time the menace is tackled in
right earnest.

 

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