On Wednesday evening, a social media user by the name Manohar Pv shared a video from Faisalabad in Pakistan and tried to pass it for a scene from Madina shopping centre in Hyderabad. Alerted about the video, independent video checkers flagged the video as fake news and the video had a warning about it being false news. The video soon had a label: “False: A video from Pakistan falsely shared as ‘Crowd with no social distancing at a shopping centre in Old city (Hyderabad)’”. But that didn’t stop others from sharing the video with the politically loaded commentary.
In reality, the Madina shopping area was nearly deserted on Wednesday as the shops were being marked with 1 and 2 to effectively implement the odd-even rule by the government. The shopping hours too have been limited in Hyderabad as a curfew comes into force at 7 p.m.
“Fake news has reached pandemic proportions due to the COVID-19. That video was shared by nearly 250 people. Earlier, we had booked 25 persons for spreading fake news about Covid-19,” said Dileep Konatham, Director, Digital Media, government of Telangana.
He said the State government was planning to augment its resources in its fight against fake news. “Beside the fact- checking portal we are planning a service that will reduce the down time and we will have near-real-time response to fake news,” said Mr. Konatham.
According to social media users, Facebook has tweaked its algorithm so that the visibility is reduced when a person repeatedly shares fake news.
Telangana’s ITE & C department has teamed up with Factly to create a fake-news busting site.