Amitabh Bachchan in Kaun Banega Crorepati | AmitabhBachchan/Facebook
Amitabh Bachchan in Kaun Banega Crorepati | Photo: AmitabhBachchan | Facebook
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While the row between Twitter and US President Donald Trump rages on after the social media giant decided to fact-check the President’s irresponsible tweets, may I call for attention an irresponsible Twitter influencer closer home whose tweets need some serious flagging?

People are so annoyed with megastar Amitabh Bachchan frequently posting unverified news on the social media platform that a petition was started on change.org asking the actor to delete WhatsApp. The messaging app is another social media platform that has become a source of unverified information. Albeit a joke, Bachchan should take note of the amount of damage he is potentially causing, given the fan following he has.

While Bachchan is one of the most engaging and active Bollywood celebrities on Twitter, one can safely say he’s not very different from those uncles in family WhatsApp groups–the compulsive text ‘forwarders’ who shrug off all responsibility from what they choose to share.

However, the big difference between our family Tauji and Big B is that while the former may not have any influence outside the family, the latter has over 42 million followers just on Twitter.


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Superspreader of fake news

The veteran actor was criticised for posting a stupid WhatsApp forward that explained how Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to Indians to cling thalis on ‘amavasya‘ was a masterstroke to fight the coronavirus. By the time AB senior deleted the tweet–without any clarification–it had already garnered 254 retweets and 2,300 likes.

The WhatsApp forward had claimed that the vibrations generated at that particular hour would prove lethal for the virus and decrease its potency. The timing was lauded owing to the fact that the moon was apparently entering some nakshatra.

Such posts surely establish him as the superstitious patriarch of Bollywood in a way showing his transformation from an angry young man to an irrational old man.

It’s disappointing to see him use this platform to promote superstitious and ill-informed posts instead of using his influence to encourage scientific thought, doing which is more important than ever now.

Such posts are not isolated. Throughout the pandemic, Bachchan has been a ‘superspreader’ of fake news. He has said Covid-19 is spread by flies–a claim which was debunked by the health ministry. He promoted a fake website as a coronavirus dashboard. Then he shared a fake picture that showed India’s geography as a bright spot on the globe on the night Indians switched off the lights and lit candles after PM Modi’s call.

 


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‘Apology’

Bachchan did apologise. But, before you start to bring back the respect in your heart for the superstar, here is the truth of his apology. He offered a correction to a previous tweet for wrongly ‘numbering’ his tweets.

 

This is the tweet he chose to provide clarification on while he’s been on a fake news spree.

The words of the KBC host have come to mean nothing. Amitabh Bachchan seems to be incomplete without the help of his ‘computer ji‘. Probably the actor should ask ‘taala laga diya jaaye?’, read what he’s posting and fact-check it before tweeting anything out.

On 30 May, the actor claimed that the lockdown has taught him a lot, but fact-checking, it seems, wasn’t in the syllabus. I cannot wait for Twitter to step up its game and fact-check Bachchan like it’s been fact-checking Trump.

 

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59 Comments Share Your Views

59 COMMENTS

  1. As long as Amitabh Bachchan re-echoes some of the crazy superstitions that his Hindutva handlers in Delhi propagate, he is playing it completely safe. The BJP will not use the Enforcement Directorate or the Income Tax department to harass the actor for his tax evasion and the many overseas accounts and assets he holds. Accordingly, the Panama Papers revelations of the Bachchan clan, including his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai will not be investigated by the BJP netas who hold the reins of power in Delhi. And in any case, in 2014, when then PM candidate Modi convinced gullible jingoists to vote for him promising them that he would get back the illegal wealth stashed in overseas accounts (ref: bit.ly/2XV46xu) he surely did not intend to go after people who would be his supporters. Like Amitabh Bachchan.

    But the irony is that the many educated middle class Indians who would in reality be rejecting these idiotic tweets and humbug from RSS and BJP luminaries when it comes to their own personal lives, nonetheless defend the right of the man to spread his canards. They don’t care for the fact that there are many gullible people who would blindly believe what a celebrity like Bachchan suggests – even if it is to their own detriment.

    For instance, Godse worshipper and terrorism accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur who is also the BJP MP from Indore publicly claimed that her breast cancer was cured by stroking cows. Whilst the middle-class memsahib with breast cancer and would not have paid heed to the Sadhvi’s suggestions and seen a doctor, the many less-literate and poor Indians would have taken the Sadhvi’s ideas literally. So much so that the surgeon who operated upon her had to come out with a clarification that breast cancer cannot be cured by cows and that he had operated upon her. He had to break his confidentiality obligations toward his patient in the interests of the wider public.

    Celebrities, political leaders and other public personalities with large followings on Twitter and/or using digital and print media to reach wide audiences ought to use their clout with care. Responsible leaders like President Obama, Emmanuel Macron, Shashi Tharoor etc. do exactly that. And that can’t be a hard act to follow for Panama Papers kid Amitabh Bachchan.

  2. Those who take Mr Bachchan’s opinions of matters that are unrelated to masala/formula films are the ones who first need some psychiatric help for believing a man whose general knowledge is quite suspect.

    • Fully agree with you Mr/Ms DV !

      Alas, a significant number of Indians worship this tax-dodger and regard any criticism of this flawed filmi man as blasphemy. Just take a look at a sample of the comments below.

  3. The Panama papers exposé (ref: bit.ly/2AqRQwv) revealed that superstar, super rich and super superstitions spreader Amitabh Bachchan and his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai had ferreted away vast sums of money and stored these funds in off-shore tax havens. Needless to say, they neither declared nor paid taxes on these incomes in any jurisdiction, including India. And of course, Amitabh Bachchan and fly. were never seen standing in front of banks to exchange their notes during demonetisation whilst their many fans suffered.

    Admittedly, the BJP government and many Bachchan fans honestly believe that certain people are more equal than others and should hence not be held to account. To the long list of BJP politicians like Tejaswi Surya, Adityanath, Kiran Bedi, Kapil Mishra and media personalities like Arnab Goswami and his ilk who get away with spreading hate one must now add people like Amitabh Bachchan who get away with spreading superstitions.

    The tragedy though is that these unscrupulous and highly shifty individuals have a large, unquestioning following.

    As the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) said:

    “The person who writes for fools is always sure of a large audience.”

    Mr Amitabh Bachchan: Please pay your taxes to India, the country which made you who you are before sermonising through Twitter.

  4. Whole article is just about the thali debate and not about AB!! You leftist just have to forward you communist agenda to malign the hindu belief!! We hindus although believe in our culture and tradition but not overly dependent upon what will be the result but you people are just want to find fault in our religion and faith!! As you did for firingcrackers in diwalii and using baloons filled with color in holi

  5. You leftist morons who has given you the rights to decide who is superspreader or not. theprint fake news channel and your zero IQ editors itself are superspreader of lies.

    • Mr Souvik Dutta: Isn’t a celebrity using his massive following to spread superstitions a real issue? Especially in a place like India where people tend to treat film heroes like demi-gods?

  6. Improve your writing tone , i especially request The Print to look into the author’s language, didn’t like it at all, the author’s language seemed to be like a haters voice , which seemed bias , rather than using such hard tone try to use soft tone.

    • Mr Suman Paswan: Whilst you are entitled to your views, you have no business telling others on what tone they should use. The author of this article has been factual and civil in his tone.

  7. Whether he is right or wrong, the tone of the article is very wrong and outright abominable. The author of the article talks like everyone on Twitter is fact checking their posts. This article is a joke of the first order. Obviously it is poined towards criticizing anyone who is pro govt. And obviously Rahul Gandhi is the biggest sage of true words out there on Twitter. Don’t we know

    • Ms Swati: Whilst you have every right to defend the BJP as well as dodgy, tax-dodging, superstition spreaders like Amitabh Bachchan, I fail to see why the

      “tone of the article is very wrong and outright abominable”

      as you pontificate.

      Yes, not many fact check Twitter posts. But when people on positions of responsibility such as politicians like Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin or celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan spread canards, propagate superstitions, the benefits of drinking dis-infectants and so on, the many unwashed masses who trust these dubious personalities are likely to follow suit. At peril to their own lives. Thus, there were many who really believed that Modi’s “barthan bajao” stunt would create so much din that the virus would simply bugger off. That did not happen and it is the virus which is doing the buggering these days !

      Bottomline: If you are a celebrity with a large following on Twitter, you cannot shirk off your responsibilities and spread falsehoods and canards.

      So rather than rushing to defend this highly flawed conman who is no better than a Vijay Mallya or a Lalit Modi or a Mehul Choksi when it comes to cheating the government of India and its people of monies he owes them as you do Ms Swati, please appreciate the work of honest journalists like Ms Shubhangi Misra who call a spade a spade.

  8. Yes, he can be superstitious to his hearts content , but he cannot spread fake news and he should know that spreading fake news is a punishable offence.

  9. Yes, he can sit at home and be superstitious to his hearts content, but he can’t spread fake news and he should know that spreading fake news is a punishable offence

  10. The author thinks she is a smarty pant and can look down upon other beliefs. This is not news or fact. This is a judgement that you pass on AB. He has every right to forward the ideas he believes in. Who are you? Are the laws broken? Shut your dirty pie hole and mind your business of reporting real news. You are real fake news.

    • The author gave her opinion, just as Big B did.
      Did she break any law that says Big B may not be criticized?
      How about you shut your pie hole first?
      Uncles today.

  11. AB can keep his superstition personal. Society is affected only when superstition is spread. Indian needs scientific temper & truths NOT superstitions & fake news.

  12. You guys are not checking stuff either. The corona dashboard tweet doesn’t have a fake website. It’s a real website with pretty accurate stats. The only thing is that it’s not official as stated by AB. As in not run by the govt.

    • The Print itself comes with fake news, what are you trying to show others. U people have not been taught the moral values by ur parents how to address the elders even if they are wrong. So dats being shown in ur every coverage. And this news is not dat important to give leverage.u can cover some good stuff. By printing such news u r just increasing Mr.Bacchan’s followers. Which can prove a blessing in disguise. Lol!

  13. Actors are trained to fake it. That’s how they make their living. An actor will say what the audience wants to hear. To expect otherwise is stupid. It’s like asking a much-divorced man marriage counseling.

  14. ‘To err is human’. This is a thought process which is oft taken for granted while criticising celebrities. They are as error-prone as we are and ‘probably’ have the same right to commit mistakes as everyone does ( including the author as well). I guess the author is more riled up by the fact that his tweets point to one end of the argument spectrum a.k.a support for the government. There would have been paeans of admiration showered on him had it been a tweet saying how Modi government has botched up the handling of Corona. And all would have then hailed him and his tweets as the emergence of new prima donna amongst the liberals citing how good Big B is despite his old age. Sad state of prejudiced writing. It’s okay to be wrong sometimes regardless of who you are, makes us humane.

  15. Patriarch ? Superstitious patriarch ? How is spreading fake news patriarch lol. Or is your hate towards Bachchan is so mind boggling that, you, don’t stop to fact check your own articles before posting anything.
    And although what he does is wrong, albeit this article is filled with a sense of celebrity hate towards someone that you just cannot ignore, tch tch tch. Oh and before you tell me how he behaves like “uncles” of the family that’s why he is a patriarch, you should be glad to know that the aunties do that much more than the uncle’s.
    Please do proper research before writing and don’t write after drinking, you are obviously trying to mock him rather than being informative.

    • Hey. Leave the lady. It is their sole claim to 15 minutes of fame. Otherwise who cares for such unverified piece of journalism. Or those stupid who petitioned thru change.org. If this is her standard of journalism and if this has approval of the print then I would need to think of the print’s YouTube channel. Many a times what Shekhar Gupta says is wrong. How about a piece on faux pas by the print. Some introspection long due..

      • Mr Parag: You pontificate:

        “Many a times what Shekhar Gupta says is wrong.”

        Have you ever considered doing a similar diagnosis of what Arnab Goswami’s Republiv TV, the BJP’s own hate speech generator and fake news machine OpIndia, ZeeTV, SwarajyaMag and the vast fauna and flaura of fascist outlets write ? Or have you inhaled far too much of the hot air emanating from Arnab Goswami’s orifices that you have lost the ability to think for yourself?

        Amitabh Bachchan is plain and simply a tax dodging celebrity with a massive following. Neither the BJP government nor the many cretins who think he is a God will do nothing to make him pay his fair share of taxes. Under these circumstances, the least one could expect from this semi-senile tax dodger is that he keeps his superstitions to himself. Many of the cretins – I am not referring to you Mr Parag – do really take the words of Ayothallah Amitabh Bachchan seriously and can come to grief doing so.

        About time India and Indians learnt that these Bollywood celebrities are nothing butselfish, self-serving individuals with zero interest in the welfare of India, its people or for that matter, even their fans. The Print and its journalists is one of the few independent platforms left in Lynchistan. And India sorely needs a platform that is not in the business of paid news.

  16. Just because he is a super celebretiy doesnt mean he cannot commit some harmless mistake wwould be more justified in hich does not offend anybody unlike the brainless who quote passage from religious book justifying the locust attack in India.
    Author would be well advised to highlight the divisive post posted by some of the highly reputed persons .

  17. Agree or not, I don’t mind your point of view. But brushing off someone as uncle is rude and juvenile, just to win an argument. Age is relative. You are anty to some! Doesn’t mean they are right. I wonder though if Media is normalizing these taunts.

  18. AB sir is beyond the author. He as an individual and has every right to speak what he believes. Why do communist minded journalists believe they are right and everyone else wrong.

  19. If Amitabh Bachchan is accused as super spreader of fake news, ThePrint is the ultimate maha super spreader of fake news. This stupid author even doesn’t understand the difference in personal views and the news. ThePrint has broken all previous records for giving meadia space to fake journalists. Shekhar Gupta is not even ashamed of it under the guise of freedom of expression (or righly freedom of fake news).

    • If the Print is all that you say, why do we get the pleasure of your superlative company in the comments section here everyday? Either what you read here is far better than the Op india thrash you usually read or you are paid to post here Dev. Has to be one of the two. Just admit it, the print is far better than the filthy websites you usually read in your echo chamber.

  20. For intelligent or people with at least a common sense will not follow or consider such superstitions as truth. If we assume everything that is posted on social media true, we will be vanished in two days. Millions of people keep of posting shit..or write unnecessary things, trying to milk on big celebs popularity, this is exactly the author is doing here. On social media everyone is trying to influence, and generate followers and using names of big celebs. Amitabh doesn’t need social media to promote himself, or doing cheap tricks. But well done author ..you for some hits on his name. This is what exactly you aimed at. He might be careful about posting his tweet or not, but, author is very much careful in choosing the topic.

  21. The biggest mistake like this writer is they think that entire India resides on Twitter this is not only with her but most of the twitter users who somehow think themselves to be superior people.Its waste to write such a big article about a non issue for 99 % of Indians with Clickbait headlines

  22. It seems the writer just woke up from a deep slumber! By the way, the media should not judge anyone when a majority of their own fraternity do the same.

  23. This is gross misuse of journalism to malign an extremely popular and hard working actor to increase your readership!
    If you have the courage do some real journalism to embarass the corrupt snd tue criminals!!

  24. @theprint….. what about your liberandu stars…..and don’t forget you yourself is a propaganda spreading fake news 🤣🤣🤣🤣

  25. Just like “secularism” the word “intolerance” has also been mixed up and used wrongly all over. The example of “fake” news quoted by the author is also not fake news. At best it is something that the author may not agree. I also do not agree with the contents. That does not give me a right to stop Amitabh B from retweeting that tweet.
    I do not follow AB on twitter. But if there are any other tweets which are “FAKE” as in fake, then AB does require censure

  26. The least that is expected of every right thinking person and not just Shri Bachhan, is to check facts before forwarding it. It is a matter of one’s own personal credibility.

  27. Fake news is new normal way. Noone can claim that they haven’t shared any fake news. Shashi Tharoor, Prashant Bhushan, Akshay Kumar, all.

  28. Why ask Amitabh to delete Twitter, ask for deletion of Twitter itself. Half the polarizing problems of the world will disappear.

  29. Sad to hear that Superstar like Amitabh also joins the club of spreading fake news. Instead of being a role model to others, it is sad to see him degrading himself. Many idolize him, Please don’t disappoint your fans.

  30. he is an individual and has the right to be superstitious. you may disagree with him and tweet accordingly. but to say that he cannot tweet on such issues shows the intolerant mindset of the author.

    • Mr Kasiviswanathan Krishnan: For sure AB has a right to be superstitious. But when he spreads his superstitious ideas and these can potentially cause harm, well that behaviour has to be called out and censured. Doing so does not reflect the “intolerant mindset” of the author as you claim but the public duty of all citizens when an influential man spreads harmful canards.

    • The fact is that those were not his beliefs, superstitious or otherwise. He was clearly forwarding a superstitious theory which an unwary audience would lap up as gospel truth, just because it emanated from the lap of their demi-god.

    • Big B has a right to say stupid things and everyone in India also has a right to criticize that. No one is sending police to his home and deleting his Whatsapp.

    • It’s not aquestion of intolerant mindset, a man of his status having millions of followers, should not forward messages which are scientifically wrong.

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