The menace of fake news is refusing to die down. And with the flourishing social media, the reach of these fake news is increasing exorbitantly. Most of us at some point of time might have come across with WhatsApp forward claiming to be 'important news'. At times, without even checking the validity of the news we end up forwarding these 'news'. Often we underestimate the disastrous effects, forwarding these fake messages have. There have been scores of incidents this year alone when such forwards have caused mob violence leading to the death of innocent people.
In the past few days too such incorrect pieces of information have made their way to social media. Here, The Logical Indian aims at busting a few of them.
Fake opinion poll by BBC predicting BJP's win
Out of the five poll-bounded states, three states, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram have concluded their assembly elections. The two states that are yet to go to the polls are Rajasthan and Telangana.
With the assembly elections approaching in Rajasthan, an alleged opinion poll claiming to be conducted by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) of Rajasthan elections has gone viral on the internet. Many social media users have shared the BBC homepage along with the alleged opinion poll.
The purported Rajasthan election result 'poll' has predicted the number of seats both BJP and Congress, would win in the forthcoming election. It has shown that in the month of June the Congress had 160+ seats and BJP had 30 seats. However, the numbers for the month of November predicts a win for BJP in the Rajasthan with 135 seats. The opinion 'poll' also predicts that if this (increase in number) will continue with the same rate, on December 11, Congress will end up with 50 seats and BJP with 145+ seats."
The alleged poll went viral on all social media including Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp that forecasted a win for the BJP against the Congress in the upcoming December Rajasthan elections.
Turns out that the whole opinion poll claimed to be conducted by BBC, was fake. The Alt news spoke to the BBC spokesperson, who informed that the alleged poll is a fake. The spokesperson said that the news organisation did no such poll. The spokesperson further stated that the news organisation does not come up come up with pre-election surveys in India.
While speaking to the publication the spokesperson said, "This fake survey on the Rajasthan polls has been circulating on WhatsApp and social media, with some messages claiming it to be from BBC News. We'd like to make absolutely clear that it is fake and does not come from the BBC." said the spokesperson.
However, if you want to check the exit polls for Rajasthan elections, here are a few genuine opinion surveys that have been conducted by ABP News-CVoter, C fore and Times Now in association with CNX. All of these surveys predicted a win for the Congress.
Cracks in Statue of Unity?
The second viral news on the list is about the Statue Of Unity. Eight years after the proposal, PM Modi on October 31 unveiled the Statue Of Unity. The world's tallest statue at 182-meters is built to pay tribute to India's first Home Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Soon after that, the social media got flooded with close up pictures of the Statue of Unity. Some of these pictures with blue markings on it highlighted some parts of the statue, which came up in November itself showed that the statue developed cracks in just two weeks of its inauguration.
One of the users circulated the pictures with a caption, "After successfully damaged 2000 notes within 2 years Sardar Statue cracking in 2 weeks."
As reported by Alt News, reacting on these claims, IK Patel, the CEO of Statue of Unity, told the Gujarati daily Divya Bhaskar, that the claims that there are cracks in the statue are fake and is just mere rumour-mongering. He said that the Statue Of Unity consists of thousands of metal plates that are made out of a bronze alloy and that have been welded together. He further stated that the to weld those huge pieces a particular type of welding has been used, which gives the illusion of these cracks.
Several videos are available online that have a closer view of the statue. In which it can be seen that the humongous Statue of Unity is made by arranging many individual blocks.
Here are some pictures from the official website of Statue of Unity posted during its construction.
Fire in the Kerala school?
The third on the list is a video from Kerala which has gone viral. In the highly circulated video, it is seen that a few students in a Kerala's Malappuram school injured due to a serious fire which broke out in the school. It shows that the students escaping the fire. Fire engines and ambulances can also be seen reaching the school with policemen in tow. Further, in the video, the children are seen running in the medical camps for aids with severe burn injuries. The video has been widely shared on Facebook and WhatsApp. There were some allegations that the fire was set by "right-wing elements" in the school.
However, when The Quint reached out to the school authorities to know more about the incident, they found out that it is not a morphed video. However, video was of a mock drill that was conducted by the Kerala fire force's Malappuram unit, the Kuttoor Panchayat and the school, Kuttoor North KMHSS.
The Balachandran, Home Guard, of Malappuram Fire Department said, "Only the school, the fire brigade and the panchayat knew of the mock drill. However, when the smoke rose out of the building, the general public around the area panicked and rushed into the school, believing it to be a genuine accident."
He also said that even the burn marks that were on the student's body were fake. He said that they (marks) were the work of the teachers in the school, who applied makeup to make the drill look more plausible.
In fact in the video which is in Malayalam, it is clear that the incident was a mock drill. It added that the children had put up a brilliant performance, making it seem like real.
Not so fake
As the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are coming closer, many party leaders, including BJP president, Amit Shah has been seen attending several rallies. Recently, a picture from one such rally has been going viral. The picture has kick-started a controversy, as in the image it is seen that the BJP president is addressing the crowd while standing on a board which has a swastika sign imprinted on it.
For those who do not know, a swastika is a religious sign for Hindus. It is a symbol of divinity and spirituality. This sparked anger in a lot of social media users who found the BJP president's act offensive. Many users criticised Amit Shah while some came in defence of him. Some even doubted the authenticity of the pictures.
Fack- checking digital website, Alt News, checked the authenticity of the pictures and to surprise of many, it turned out that the pictures were not fake. The original pictures were shared by the Amit Shat himself on his Facebook page, with a caption, "Rahul Gandhi might have forgotten but I want to remind him that the citizens of the land of braves, Rajasthan, can support Congress party which disrespects the gallantry and courage of brave soldiers."
However, after the pictures created a huge row, the pictures were deleted from his Facebook page, though the damage was done by then. You can see the archived link of the picture here.
Creating or sharing fake news is never justified. We have a responsibility to verify everything that we post on the internet. To ensure that our national debate is healthy and well-informed, each and every one of us has a responsibility of treating what we read with a pinch of salt, a spoonful of doubt, and a flood of research.
To all the political parties and leaders, ruling or opposition, please don't be a part of the problem. Be part of the solution. For a better future, for a better nation.