1. Internet in India is still a Toddler
Internet was costly in India believe me as a millennial I remember paying 250RS+ for 1 GB of 3G internet, and 2G was just too slow. It’s after the arrival of Jio in 5th September 2016 everything changed internet became affordable to everyone and more people from Rural Areas were introduced to internet.
As I have seen previously back in 2007 I didn’t came across many political pages back then , people weren’t aware of Social Media and lot of them still used conventional Messages to communicate hence lot less hatred and pollution in social media but as Internet got affordable more and more people went online and now attention and eyeballs are all on Internet mostly Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp. Back in 2009 It was a matter of pride to have a Facebook account lol. Now as political parties understood where people were spending their time especially millennials and teenage people they started their campaigns on Social media. That’s how it all started.
2. There is no proper Internet Education in India
When I say it I mean it, there are practical classes on Computers and Internet but they’re only limited to textbooks only, people mostly use internet without understanding basics of it and people who are uninformed are the easiest targets and this loophole is being used by Political parties these days exploiting users inability to differentiate Truth and False News on social media, and people usually believe what they see without doing any background research on the topic.
3. Religion and Belief Systems
Political parties are nothing but groups of people looking to exploit people to attain power and they attack very thing that unites people and that thing is their “Religions” people are emotionally attached to their religions
4. Financial Status
Most of the population in India are from Rural areas and are economically weaker, and Money plays such a important role in everyone’s lives, so at the time of elections lot of people get lured by Money offers, Alchohol offers etc that mitigate people’s problem for that very moment, people will obviously vote for who gives them the more money. And people tend to believe word of mouth that circulates and follow the herd.
5. Tools available for mass targeting of audience
Recently an French IT Researcher who has exposed Vulnerabilities of Aadhaar tweeted about Mr. Narendra Modi’s App sending its users data to a american company called “CleverTap” without users consent, and when I did a background research of this company it usually categorizes the app users by their behvaiour and can target them using distinct messages, read here for more https://clevertap.com/features/
And its just one App that got exposed, even Google Adwords, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter lets users to run advertisements and target people on their behaviour and their intrests which can be categorized as psychological manipulation through social media and Political parties are taking advantages of such powerful apps/tools and that can have a very devastating effect on Elections.
6 . Lack of Research Mindset
I personally recive more than 50 forwarded messages a day, now put that In perspective for a country of 132.92 crores as of 2017 census, out of which 24.3% of that population has access to Internet, in such a case it becomes a larger issue that people blindly forwarding whatever they see online without actually verifying the news that’s how fake news spreads faster than a wildfire. And there are very less organizations or group of people that work in validating and debunking the fake news.
Few of them which deserve more attention and respect for what they’re doing are as follows
These people are doing a great job and are trying their best to save the democracy.
Well then, what can you do to protect yourself from all the fake news online ?
I would like to suggest a App known as “GovernEye” its an online gathering place for citizens of a democracy to have meaningful discussions about governance, politics and social issues. What makes GovernEye so potent is the active participation of elected representatives and their inclination to engage with users. GovernEye provides a space to conduct public discussions, get lawmakers’ updates, organise and participate in an online protest march, understand the trends in opinions on national issues and most importantly, receive alerts about fake news.
Watch this Documentary to Know How Fake News is on its Rise in India
Don’t follow the herd, try and verify any message before you forward it and don’t fall for tricks being played by political parties and organizations, the Country needs you to be wide awake and as a Responsible citizen of the country, Question the Government ask your politician to discuss about real issues such as unemployment, Air pollution, Deforestation, Price Hikes etc.
And “QUESTION EVERYTHING”