(Image source from: TheMotleyFool)
Despite stringent rules put by Election Commission of India on social media platforms ahead of Lok Sabha elections, a survey on Tuesday revealed that one in two Indians has received fake news in the last 30 days and social media giant Facebook and WhatsApp are the platforms which are being used excessively to misinform the users.
The survey conducted by New Delhi-based Institute for Governance, Policies, and Politics and online startup Social media Matters found that more than 53 percent of Indians received fake news related to the upcoming elections over various social media platforms.
"Nearly 62 percent of the population believes that the upcoming elections will be influenced by the misinformation that the users are receiving," the findings showed.
The 18-25 age group that led the conversation constituted 54 percent of the sample population.
"Facebook and WhatsApp are the leading platforms being used to disseminate misinformation. The survey stated that 96 percent of the sample population received fake news via WhatsApp," the findings showed.
An estimated 900 million voters (including 9.4 percent new voters) are battling the influence of fake news as India goes to the polls from April 11.
"Since half-a-billion voters have access to Internet, fake news can have a massive impact on the elections," said the survey.
Nearly 41 percent stated they made efforts to authenticate news by searching it on Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
About 54 percent suggested that they have never been affected by fake news but 43 percent of them have known people who have been misled by the same.
The survey titled '#DontBeAFool' covered nearly 700 users including 56 percent men, 43 percent women and 1 percent transgenders.
The social media giant Facebook on Monday said it was working for more than 18 months now to make certain that the Indian elections were fair and free from intervention, both domestic and foreign.
Facebook earlier this week removed nearly 700 Pages, Groups and accounts in India for violating its policies on what it calls "coordinated inauthentic behavior" and spam.