Fake forwards and gratuitous content sharing on WhatsApp without any corroboration or supporting facts is certainly not a new practice in India. The Nipah virus Havoc, falsities about the social network, Air India Free Tickets scam and a lot more have been unveiling on millions of phones. Merely what comes as a startle is rising number of killings, rabble deaths and lynching cases due to these forwards.
With about one million new users on WhatsApp every day in India, it becomes arduous to pull out the source of these forwards. An End-to-End encryption on the application even made more difficult to put an end to these forwards as no third party, including the company itself, has access to messages or media shared between two members.
In an instance, a man was abused by a rabble over a WhatsApp forward where he was accused of being a part of the 'deadly Pardhi gang'.
In most of South India, including Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka long messages in various regional languages and in English are being circulated over WhatsApp.
In other instance, people who were accused of child abductors through circulation of reportedly fake videos without any concrete proof were beaten, thrashed or abused to death in various places including, two Assamese youth.
Some of the fake WhatsApp forwards
Image source: The Quint
Image source: Deccan Chronicle. "Beware. This is the photograph of a kidnapper at Chirayinkeezhu who targets our children." The picture of a man was circulated claiming child abduct.
Important to cross-check information we share: Sanchita
"The whole scenario is devastating and saddens me," says Sanchita, who is pursuing Mass Communication in Bangalore. Sanchita Singh, the 19-year-old student believes that she, as a part of the young generation, understands how the internet works and how everything shared is not authentic, and simply ignores any forwards that involve accusations.
"I think it's important to cross-check the information we share over any medium and mention a proper source to it. If people start taking law in their own hands over a few videos or messages shared that have no basis of authenticity, measures beyond ignorance have to be taken to cross verify and inform if the information is actually true", she adds.
By Sowmya Sangam