Business Standard

Fact checkers alone can't curb fake news (Dangal 2019)

IANS  |  New Delhi 

As the proliferation of on platforms has given rise to a new breed of fact checkers, their efforts may not be enough to counter the impact of during the course of the

Face-checking website Alt News, for example, recently checked the authenticity of a letter notifying people to abstain from using Facebook, Twitter, and to share political propaganda posts before the 2019 elections.

Circulated under the name of "Crime Prevention Council of India", many users assumed that it was a government order.

Alt News found that was actually a non-governmental organisation which said it did not issue the notice.

Will the corrected fact reach as many people as the the original notice which was shared by users thinking that it was a government order?

The answer is a clear "no" as research suggests that people are more willing to share than accurate news - a major factor that helps spread faster, deeper.

"We do not have as much reach as platforms have. This is one reason why less people get to know whether the information they consumed was true or false even after our fact checking," agreed Govindraj Ethiraj, Founder, BOOM, which has collaborated with Facebook, and Twitter, among others, to fight misinformation.

"Even though we are constrained by the reach, as a fact checking platform, we hope to play an important role in fighting during the Our workload is steadily increasing since the 2018 Legislative Assembly election," Ethiraj told IANS.

Several including Facebook, and China-based are collaborating with third-party fact checkers - mainly to ensure that shared on their platforms do not lead to real world harm or to people.

Facebook, for example, is working with seven partners in -- Today Group, news, Factly, Newsmobile, Fact Crescendo and AFP, besides BOOM - which review news stories on for facts, and rate their accuracy.

Ethiraj, however, pointed out that even though fact checkers have not been able to curb the menace of fake news on social media platforms, they have been greatly successful in reducing spread of fake news by influencers.

"Celebrities or those with large following on social media will now think twice before posting false information or sharing them. There is now a fear that the information will be verified," he said.

But social media is not just about influencers.

With almost all political parties now prepared to use these platforms to influence voters - unlike in the 2014 when only the (BJP) had a vital presence on social media - users with average number of followers and affiliates of political parties are likely to bombard the space with propaganda material.

(Gokul Bhagabati can be contacted at gokul,



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, March 17 2019. 12:56 IST