Forward 'soch ke'
Woman's Era|July 2021
Think before you forward
Rama Kashyap

A herd of giraffes is walking down majestically to the diving board. One by one the giraffes pull off acrobatic dive into the swimming pool.’ An awesome video going viral on social media with the claim that it is a real show in Australia! The fact is it is not a real show, but computer graphics, an award-winning animated video. Sample another widely shared image which is of an elephant carrying a lion cub with its trunk and a lioness walking by the side. The picture is going round in social media with the back-story that the elephant is coming to the rescue of a cub in harsh Sahara Desert. Fantastic! Animals forgetting animosity in the times of adversity! However, the photo is not real, but a doctored image.

These are tall claims, fake videos and photos, but absolutely harmless. However, there are many manipulated stories, videos and pictures being forwarded on WhatsApp and circulated on other social media platforms that can be dangerous- pitching community against community, religion against religion- spreading hatred, fear and mistrust through divisive messages. A large number of these malicious posts are sham, not based upon facts, but made purposely by the dedicated fake news industry to serve vested interests. Earlier the virtual world did not exist, but in the age of social media, rumours and hatred spread fast like a wild fire. There have been instances when fake forwards have led to riots and mob lynching’s in recent years by giving leverage to existing prejudices at the mass level. We have been witnessing to the enmities of the virtual world getting translated into violence, arson, loot, destruction, killings in the real world when riots broke out in East Delhi in 2019.

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