Main Article Content
Misinformation. Hoaxes. Rumours. Fake news- so many terms for the same phenomenon. It is something which is not new and has been going on since as early as any of us can remember. Although recently, it has seen a sudden boom with the advent of the digital world and suddenly everyone seems to have an opinion on everything going on in the world, however ill formed it maybe.
In such a situation, how could the single biggest event of 2020- the corona virus or COVID 19 pandemic, be an exception to this trend. All of us have come across some piece of “information” regarding this microscopic being which while staying invisible to the naked eye has proved to be mankind’s worst nemesis till date and has brought the world down on its knees. It proved to be an evil which could exist in any form- pictures, videos, text messages, audio messages, news headlines or a simply misconstrued interpretation of something said by a public figure.
There are various reasons responsible for this surge of fake news, primarily the multitude of information available today at one’s fingertips coupled with lack of scientific attitude and awareness. The proliferation of social media has democratized access to all types of information and at the same time blurred the line between truth and falsehood. Although there is evidence that social media was used as a channel to disseminate useful information such as common symptoms of COVID infection, need for social distancing etc, the consequences of false information masquerading as verifiable truth were apparent during the peak of the pandemic crisis, with false parallels being drawn between scientific evidence and uninformed opinion.
Fake news needs to be scrutinised harder than ever with the world facing its biggest health crisis in centuries.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.