From Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi to Tipu Sultan and Shehla Rashid, not many escaped fake news propaganda of 2018. ThePrint brings you some the year’s best.
New Delhi: There had been a continuous flow of fake news on social media in 2018, the year preceding the Lok Sabha elections. Politicians, activists, leaders and even a few journalists — irrespective of their ideological leanings — have shared fake news on Twitter and Facebook throughout the year.
Here is the list of top 10 fake news items that were shared widely on various social media platforms:
Doctored video of Congress leader Sidhu’s rally
A doctored video of a crowd shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ (long live Pakistan) at a Congress election rally in Rajasthan’s Alwar district was widely shared on social media earlier this month. Twitter handles of Zee News and a few other portals had shared the video. In the original video, the crowd can be heard screaming ‘Pakistan Murdabad’ (down with Pakistan), instead of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’
Fake pictures of RSS workers helping Kerala flood victims
In August, Kerala witnessed one of its worst floods since 1924. Images of RSS workers helping the flood victims were widely shared on Twitter. People started shaming the Left government in the state saying the RSS is working harder to provide relief to the flood victims in a state that has seen killings of its members due to political violence. However, the pictures, although of RSS workers, were not from Kerala. A report said the pictures of RSS workers helping out the victims are from August 2017 during the Gujarat floods.
Jignesh Mevani shared photoshopped image of Shefali Vaidya
In May, a photoshopped image of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and columnist Shefali Vaidya was widely shared on Twitter after it was posted by Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, also a Dalit rights activist. Although Mewani deleted the tweet later and apologised, Vaidya filed a case against him under section 500 of the IPC (defamation) the section 66 A of the IT act (punishment for identity theft).
Congress’ Divya Spandana said Modi didn’t study beyond high school
Congress social media and communications head Divya Spandana had in September tweeted an old video clip in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi says that he studied till high-school level. The video Spandana tweeted was made in 1998 when Modi was the general secretary of the BJP. Congress leader Rajeev Shukla, who was a journalist at that time, had interviewed Modi for his popular TV show Ru-Ba-Ru during which he asked him about his education. Later, Spandana admitted that she had posted an incomplete video.
Rahul Gandhi U-turn on farm loan waiver promise
A collage of videos claiming that Congress president Rahul Gandhi had gone back on his promise of providing loan waivers to farmers in Madhya Pradesh after winning the state election was doing the rounds. In the first video, Gandhi is seen promising loan waiver to farmers within 10 days if the Congress comes to power in Madhya Pradesh. In the second video, he can be seen saying: “This is not the solution. The solution will be more complex and the solution will be one that supports farmers…” It was later found that the second clip has been altered. MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath waived farmers’ loan up to Rs 2 lakh the day he sworn in.
Doctored image of Modi wearing a skull cap
A photoshopped image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi wearing a Muslim skull cap was shared widely on social media in September. The Prime Minister had gone to Indore to address a gathering of Dawoodi Bohras, where he met the religious head of the community, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin. However, in the pictures tweeted from the official handle of the Prime Minister, @narendramodi, one can see that Modi wasn’t wearing any cap while exchanging greeting with the religious leader.
Fake image of Delhi’s Signature Bridge
The Aam Aadmi Party’s official handle tweeted a photograph of a bridge that it claimed was the much-awaited cable-stayed ‘Signature Bridge’, which was inaugurated later. The only hitch – the photograph was found to be that of Erasmus Bridge, which is located at the heart of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The goof-up was pointed out by BJP spokesperson, Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, who has 424.6 K Twitter followers.
Congress is the second most corrupt party in the world
In September, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri and founder of Aarin Capital, Mohandas Pai, were among many others who tweeted a listicle claiming that a BBC survey had found the Congress to be the second most corrupt party in the world. However, this turned out to be a fake survey and the online editor of the BBC clarified that the premier news organisation never conducts such surveys.
BJP worker posted image of slave trader, claimed it was Tipu Sultan
In November, BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay tweeted an image of an African slave trader from the 19th century, claiming it’s a picture of the ‘real’ Tipu Sultan. He tagged PM Narendra Modi among many other senior ministers in the tweet, which fetched more than 700 retweets overnight. The tweet came on the day the JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka was celebrating Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary, against which the BJP had raised objections.
Shehla Rashid pocketing money meant for Kathua rape victim’s kin
There were rumours on social media that JNU activist Shehla Rashid had embezzled funds collected for the family of an eight-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in the Kathua region of Jammu and Kashmir in January. Zee News had even run a prime time show on the issue. However, fact-checking website Alt News found that the money was transferred, but the family found it difficult to withdraw because of lack of PAN card and other documents and none of it went to Shehla.
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