India & COVID-19: The Downside of Social Media

Social media has played a pivotal role in spreading knowledge and awareness about the global pandemic. But as the world fights this rapidly spreading virus, the online social sphere across the globe is witnessing fake news and misinformation. This misleading news is making the fight against this virus even tougher. The current situation in India provides a prominent example of being affected by the downside of social media.

Fake news through social media

False information and fake news have always been a part of the digital. While fake news is a global problem, India is no exception. The inaccurate information regarding civil unrest creates more challenges for under-developing economies like India.

It is mainly because many new technology-users believe everything they see on social media platforms- especially when their friends or family members send that information.

Along with the world, India is trying to fight COVID-19 but is also facing many other challenges in the process. Social media is playing quite a contrasting role in this regard. While many people are sharing verified information to assist the local communities and the more vulnerable elders, many of them also have been super active in spreading unverified and misleading information.

With several popular social apps, like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Tiktok, many of the locals are incessantly exchanging and communicating fake news about the virus. For example, a 30-second video on TikTok shows a person gargling with salt and vinegar water as a cure for the virus. While some other person tweets that India had developed its first virus mattress. And just like that, a YouTube video gets thousands of reactions as it promoted drinking cow urine for curing coronavirus.

The vast spread of unverified videos and messages on social media platforms has made the Government and public unite and fight them, in addition to fighting the global pandemic.

Indian Government’s Response

The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has been working with global leaders to fight this epidemic. He has also taken measures to ensure that social media platforms spread valid information about the virus. They have generated a WhatsApp chatbot, MyGovCoronaHelpdesk – developed by a Mumbai-based firm, the Haptik. It responds to COVID-19 related questions and assists while fighting coronavirus rumors.

Apart from advising all social media platforms to act responsibly, the PM has also informed the mainstream Media (Radio, press, and Television) to spread his decisions on the virus to the public.

However, traditional print media has also become a key in spreading the right message to the people.

Handling misinformation individually

The difference in trust between the new and the old media has become vital when India is fighting one of the biggest global health challenges. It is quite unfortunate that at this time against COVID-19, social media has played an inutile role, creating panic and havoc in one of the largest online user-base in the world.

With so much stress and pressure in regular lives, taking care of yourself and your loved ones has become more important than never. If you want to keep your family away from such fake updates that come after each minute, monitoring apps such as Xnspy could be a help. It provides a basic control panel that lets you manage the social media apps in targeted tablets or phones. As the Indian social media has become a misleading source of information, it is essential to keep the content control in your hands.