News is a dish best served fresh, cut and dried, with a make-or-break ingredient – accuracy. However, what is being dished out on our social media channels and consumed by most us is stale, fake and at best misleading. It is the sheer volume of exchange that makes it ‘believable’ – be it the chief minister of Tripura spouting facts about mythological characters, videos of protesters vandalising a vehicle or pictures of a Ganpati idol made of bananas in Goa.
Sadly most of the ingredients that make news transparent and accurate are lost in this viral exchange. It may seem counter-intuitive because in the blue-tick, instant world of Twitter and Instagram, and I-know- everyone-in-my-phonebook comfort of Whataspp, how can anything be fake and misleading?
The reasons are multi-fold transcending psychology, neuro-science and the changing reading habits. But perhaps the most glaring one is the ‘write, click and send’ capability of smartphones and wide usage of social media apps. With them comes the danger of conveniently overlooking the checks and balances built into the older, more reliable system – verifying facts, cross-checking them and being accountable for passing them on.
Now, old incidents and events are repackaged with a slightly different flavour and recycled on the ubiquitous internet. Incidents, good and bad, are manufactured on the whims and fancies of either an ignorant mind or a manipulative hand, false claims are made and images are morphed. The victim is undoubtedly accuracy.
There are ways to check the facts but all of them need time, which none of us have the luxury of. The government is doing its bit, but the next best is to get it verified from an independent entity which believes in bringing credible stories and truth to its readers and viewers. We urge you to not just believe anything dished out to you, bring it to us, we will check and cross-check, so you share the truth.
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