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  • Nimesha Subramanian

"Fake" or "Fact" ?

"A lie can travel halfway around the world, while the truth is putting on its shoes."

If you ever read news from the internet, the majority of it is likely false.

Although this is nothing new, the internet has made it extremely easy for false information to spread. Before the internet, most people got their news from television, radio, or newspapers. However, with the internet, the news moved online, and anyone could post information for the world to read. Credible news articles are often drowned out by unverified information, and with so many articles coming at us every minute, it is easy to be fooled. Misinformation relies on appealing to the inherent biases, emotions and thoughts of the readers. Our need for quick answers always tends to overpower the desire to know their validity. This is what leads to its appeal and virality. In a country with over 400 million internet users, the spread of fake news and misinformation hit an all-time high in 2020, with every event, from the general elections and the farmer protests to a massive cyclone hitting the country, and most importantly-a deadly pandemic. We need to understand that fake news is fueled by digital illiteracy. Most Indians now use the internet, but digital literacy and social media regulation are at an all-time low. This is extremely dangerous.

So, how do we protect ourselves from falling prey to misinformation? It is quite hard, which is why it is up to us to be critical of every single thing we read on the internet. Keeping this in mind, we should only read articles from credible sources and further research and debunk everything we read before we form our opinions. Try not to rely on one single article, instead read multiple articles to understand the subject well. We must also remember to check the sources cited in the article, the date it was published. Most importantly, we should share and repost carefully. In today's fast-paced world, fake news relies on believers of the news to repost, retweet and forward.

Try to slow down a lie, while giving the truth some more time to put on its shoes.

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