Fake News: From Newzers’ POV

Newzera
4 min readFeb 18, 2022

1 in every 2 Indians is a victim of fake news.

In 2010, most of us probably didn’t even know what fake news was! So accepting this statistic at its face value would have been out of the question.

“Between my sister and me, one of us is a victim of something called fake news? Merlin’s Beard!” (Sheesh, aren’t we slaying the Harry potter vocab game!)

In 2022, this fact is as acceptable as someone saying ‘Only 0.5% of the earth’s water is usable for drinking.’

But, and you know there’s almost always a but with us (no pun intended), we’re not the ones to accept ANYTHING without seeing for ourselves. Curious, we decided to do a little survey with our netizens.

With an office full of Gen-Zers and millennials who can’t get enough of news, it seemed like the perfect sample had been delivered straight to our laps. And what we found didn’t just reinforce what the folks at Social Media Matters and Institute for Governance, Policies and Politics (IGPP) said in 2019, but took us even beyond their number from two years ago.

What’s worse than fake news?
Fake news that has gone viral!

Anushka (News Curator | Copywriter)

“Last month, I came across a viral Instagram video showing Aryan Khan, who at that time was still embroiled in the NCB drug case, looking drunk and misbehaving in the middle of an airport lobby. So many people were re-sharing it! The first thing that came to my mind when I saw it wasn’t disgust. No, when I saw the video, the first thought in my head was ‘The timing is very suspicious.’

A few hours later, Quint debunked the video. It was actually a video of Canadian actor Bronson Pelletier back in 2012.

People were just passively sharing that video to be part of the conversation because I believe that if someone actually thought about the video, it would be clear this was false in at least some measure.”

Ayaan (News Curator)

“A few hours after the variant was announced, I saw reports on Instagram that it had a 33% mortality rate. Can you believe it? That means NeoCoV would kill one out of three people. That scared the living daylight out of me! I felt so panicked and stressed, it put me in a really bad place. Thankfully the very next day I saw a post on social media from a fact-checking organisation that explained the dangers of the new variant and debunked the 33% mortality rate news.”

Shivangi (News Curator | Copywriter)

“The pandemic was an uncertain time for all of us, and in India, that got worse when the first vaccines came out. There was a lot of fake news about Covid-19 and I saw the effects of it play out in very real ways.

A close friend’s mom read on Whatsapp that women shouldn’t get the vaccine, because it causes infertility, vaginal cysts and every other horrible possible thing. She wouldn’t let my friend get the vaccine! I couldn’t understand how a Whatsapp forward and a few blogs could stop someone from getting a life-saving vaccine.”

This isn’t just about Anushka, Ayaan, Shivangi, or even Shivangi’s friend. No. Reuters 2019 India Digital News report found that 57% of Indians worry about the authenticity of the news they read online. And why wouldn’t they?

But it seems like Gen Z and Millenials are finally done with the theatrics of fake news.

Teens are abandoning social media platforms in dramatic, unbelievable numbers. A report by the Verge, ‘Facebook’s Lost Generation’, shows posting by teens dropped by 13% on Instagram.

The wind certainly seems to be blowing in a different direction for Gen Z and Millennials who believe in taking matters into their own hands. But will we ever be able to stop fake news at its source or will we find our bliss in ignorance once again?

Well, we don’t mean to sound so dramatic. You know we always come back with answers. So while our series on Fake News (Part 1, Part 2) is done, there’s a lot more to come.

So stay tuned and you know what to do!
(hint: Clap button never looked so inviting, right?)

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Newzera

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