SPREAD OF DISINFORMATION THROUGH THE ONLINE INFORMATION ENVIRONMENT IN INDIA
By Aakriti Jain, Akanksha & Aamin Setia
From being a luxury to becoming a necessity, Internet has come a long way. The power of internet is increasing day by day. It is not just enabling people to fight the problem of information deficiency but is also making it possible for individuals and groups to spread awareness, raise debates and change orthodox stereotypes and mindsets. With the increasing sale of smart phones and cheap and easy availability of internet, a lot of people in the rural as well as the urban areas have now access to it. The Digital Empowerment Foundation has told various stories of how WhatsApp and Facebook are among the first form of contact with the internet for millions of people in the rural areas. Today, we see a new hashtag trending everyday questioning the social, political, and environmental evils in the country. The power of these trending hashtags on various social media platforms is massive. Throughout this paper an attempt has been made to elaborate various scenarios in which the authorities are time and again questioned to take decisions, change laws, bring about amendments and take cognisance of the issues which they have been ignoring for a long period of time. It depicts the power of the crowd on social media as well as messaging platforms and how a simple rumour spread through these platforms can cause serious unrest in the country. It also shows how the people of the country abuse their freedom of speech and expression and use these platforms to their own advantage to spread disinformation. With the increasing number of cyber related crimes, the government of the country has taken various measures to curb the spread of such false news. An attempt has been made to discuss the government measures as well the current legislations which makes the spread of fake news an offence.
Key words: Fake News, social media, legislations
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