In a recent survey conducted by Microsoft, India ranks higher than any other country in spreading of fake news. As the country is going to witness the biggest electoral process in the world itself, the major issue to be confronted will be the spreading of fake news itself. In this regard election commission of India, has given prior importance to control spreading of fake news. the EC have announced last month that its code of conduct would have to be followed by social media companies as well as political parties. However, some analysts scoffed, saying it lacked the capacity and speed required to check the spread of fake news ahead of a multi-phase general election that begins April 11.
Just weeks later, the commission is indeed struggling to cope with the fake news swirling on different social media platforms. For the Commission, fake news presents a huge challenge. India has 1.14 billion cellphone connections. Around 240 million Indians use WhatsApp. Facebook has over 300 million users in India, more than any other country.
“Millions of voters are waking up to fake news, propaganda and hate speech inciting violence against Muslims and other minorities every day. But all the commission can do is monitor it,” said Apar Gupta, a lawyer and executive director of the Internet Freedom Foundation.
The scale of the propaganda, false information, manipulated photos, and fake videos may have something to do with the scope of India’s general election. The outcome of 879 million Indians voting over five weeks starting next week is being seen by some as a watershed moment that could fundamentally alter the ethos of Indian society.