Infodemic forcing everyone to do their bit to curb misinformation

MUMBAI: The ongoing ‘infodemic’ has prompted companies like Flipkart, entities like Tata Trusts, as well as a bunch of content creators to take matters into their own hands and debunk fake news.

Till recently, the onus of curbing the spread of such news and misinformation rested on social media and messaging platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and others, but now this disparate grouping of people and corporates are doing their bit to sensitise online users about the importance of sharing content responsibly, although fact-checkers doubt the efficacy of these attempts.

They have come up with catchy videos, web series, or social media posts from a brand’s accounts across platforms, to address the ‘infodemic’ – a term used by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to refer to the damage caused by Covid-19-related misinformation – as well other fake news.

Last week, youth-centric media and research platform Yuvaa released an anti-fake-news anthem in collaboration with the United Nations for its Verified global initiative “to provide content that cuts through the noise to deliver life-saving information, fact-based advice and stories from the best of humanity.”

Riffing on a famous Britney Spears track, Yuvaa’s “Oops! I shared it again” features celebrities and content creators like Akash Banerjee (The Deshbhakt), Gurmehar Kaur, Maanvi Gagroo, Nakuul Mehta, Shreya Dhanwanthary and others openly admitting to being a part of the problem of fake news dissemination.

Some of the lyrics, written in Hindi, loosely translate to: “It feels nice when the news aligns with my bias. It urges me to be the first to share it with others, so as to establish that I know everything. Verifying news is boring, so why should I take the pain?”

Nikhil Taneja, cofounder and CEO of Yuvaa said the video “is an attempt at conveying that we need to look inwards before holding others responsible for spreading fake news, because, at some point or the other, we’ve all forwarded something without double-checking.”

“It is meant for the youth and encourages them to initiate a dialogue on the subject with the older generations, too,” he added.

So far, the issue of fake news has been largely dealt with academically, Taneja said, adding that his team wanted to create something that seeped into pop culture.

Homegrown ecommerce marketplace Flipkart, too, took the pop-culture route to address the fake news issue recently.

In July, the Bengaluru-based company launched a web series called ‘Fake or Not?’ for its in-app video streaming service, Flipkart Video. It features content creator Mallika Dua playing a news anchor and debunking the latest fake news in her inimitable, satirical style. The show has had two seasons and Flipkart plans to announce the third soon, a company spokesperson told ET.

Infodemic forcing everyone to do their bit to curb misinformation Infodemic forcing everyone to do their bit to curb misinformation Reviewed by TechCO on 10/13/2020 Rating: 5

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