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BBC to offer reality check service to counter fake news

BBC to offer reality check service to counter fake news
Highlights

Fake news is used as a political tool to manipulate populations in countries where elections are due This is happening in India as well, says Jamie Angus, Director of BBC World Service Group

New Delhi: Fake news is used as a political tool to manipulate populations in countries where elections are due. This is happening in India as well, says Jamie Angus, Director of BBC World Service Group.

Several people have lost their lives in the past one year by lynch mobs after rumours of child lifting triggered via messages on WhatsApp. The incidents elicited global outrage, making WhatsApp take strict action to curb it. BBC News has also come out with special Indian coverage, putting forward its own solutions to the country's building fake news crisis.

“In many parts of the world, the proliferation of fake news is having a detrimental effect on people's lives, their livelihoods and around national security. It is being used as a political tool to manipulate populations that have upcoming elections, and we have also seen that in India,” he added. With India’s general elections coming up, Angus feels ‘it is vital people have access to news they can trust’.

“During the 2019 election campaign, we have pledged to provide a daily election BBC Reality Check service to India, debunking fake news as it happens and explain issues at the centre of the debates... BBC News is making even greater efforts to explain what type of information you are reading or watching, who and where the information is coming from and how a story was crafted the way it was.”

“The BBC is launching a global ‘Beyond Fake News' project which includes workshops to school pupils and college students in various locations across India. We also need better ways for people to report poor quality content, especially on chat apps, alongside steps to be taken to limit the speed a link can go viral from a handful of shares to several millions,” he said.

“So, the BBC is working with Indian chat platforms, primarily WhatsApp, and partnering with the Google News Initiative and Twitter to co-fund pan-Indian research on what are the fundamental drivers of fake news on messaging and social media platforms,” he added.

By Sugandha Rawal

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