How and when in 2016 social media manipulated the ‘Online’ population to believe in made up stories.
2016, of all the years so far, saw the biggest impact of social media on news. The true reports published in the print media and telecasted on news channels failed to impress the audiences. The fake but fascinating chatter and forwards on WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook amongst others, were a big hit.
Here are a few that made it to headlines this year (headlines declaring that they are rumours).
UNESCO stamped a few…
- Indian Prime Minister declared the “Best Prime Minister in the world” and probably the universe for all we know.
Indeed he is the best alternative available to us Indians. Yet out of various alternatives available to UNESCO they judged ours the best. Probably the Mitron spell worked its magic on them as well.
The citizens of the country already under the spell made sure to promote it on each and every platform they could.
- Jana Gana Mana becomes the best national anthem in the world, yet again!
Since 2008 rumours of Indian national Anthem being declared the best in the world are spreading like fire. What was new to this news was that it caught the eye of UNESCO and they stated that “We are aware of several blogs in India reporting this story, but can assure you that UNESCO has made no such announcement concerning the anthem of India or any country,”.
Probably the authentic declaration hurt Supreme Court the most and, they took it upon themselves to save the pride of Jana Gana Mana, by now everyone knows what it led to.
- The new 2000 rupee note, “Best Currency in the World”.
- The inbuilt GPS chip to locate the note.
- Incombustible (will never burn)
- Can be torn. Then again, some glue will fix everything.
- Not to forget the radioactive ink they used.
It was not just the happening pink colour of the currency which made UNESCO declare it the best in the world. What better does a UN organisation has to do other than saving the sentiments of the demonetization struck Indians.
- Nano GPS chip installed in the 2000 rupee note. Was there?
Yet another fake news was furnished and forwarded by many that the new currency note will have a GPS chip embedded in it that will enable you to locate it. The super advanced technique took the readers by awe. Hours were spent under the sunlight staring at the note to be able to locate the feature. No luck there.
- 2000 rupee notes were printed in radioactive ink.
With demonetisation, people in the lines became more active on social media and kept a strict check on whether black money is being seized. Amazingly, quite relieved by the rumour that radioactive ink on the new currency won’t allow the hoarders to keep piles of public’s rationed currency with themselves.
The rumour stated the details of the isotope, “radioactive isotope of phosphorous (P32), which has 15 protons and 17 neutrons”.
The magic probably lied in the alphanumeric representation of data the report provided. Reinstating the fact that the presentation convinces the readers more.
The blabber regarding 2000 rupee notes being printed upon by radioactive ink forced many to allocate a separate space to each note.
A lot being said about how people misuse the UNESCO stamp to make anything and everything look real. Here’s what UNESCO in fact is and does.
- RBI bans 10 rupee coins.
A rumour which affected the small scale vendors, intra-city public transport, and children with piggy banks more. The coins with a gold outline had the potential of being declared the “Best coins of all Indian currency”, probably not by UNESCO this time. However, due to unknown reasons the rumours had to have a ban on these. Though this did make people aware of the counterfeited coins in circulation.
- The Salt crisis.
Yet another scintillating rumour turned into a crisis when, despite having a 7,517 km coastline, the country was declared short of Salt. The rumour lead to major troubles in some regions of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Hyderabad. Considering it an after effect of demonetization, many naïve consumers were exploited by the devious traders, charging highest possible prices for basic commodities.
- Dragging Mark Tully into the Race: “Nehru Govt has stood like a Banyan Tree”- Mark Tully
High-end organisations are probably trending with rumour makers as it was now former chief of BBC India bureau, who ostensibly said that, “Nehru Govt has stood like a banyan tree, overshadowing the people and the institutions of India.” Not offensive? The message added- “Nothing grows under the banyan tree.” No matter how humorous the statement sounds, it was fake.
Elaborated above were a few instances out of many such messages circulated amongst all, either via blogs or WhatsApp forwards.
Others which could not make it to the list due to writer’s discretion were “Secret Daughter of Jayalalithaa Residing in the US”, and the fake fact that ISIS instead of recording videos of heinous killings, finds it easier to terrorise the world by misusing the WhatsApp and Facebook profile pictures of women. Probably Instagram and SnapChat didn’t reach them yet.
If now you were informed that the coming year will be welcomed with a green thousand rupee note, would you believe that?