The Common Man Speaks

25Mar/180

How to identify Fake News?

The internet and social media have revolutionized our lives. But every innovation is bound to have some disadvantages. While there are quite a few disadvantages of the internet, the one that is creating an absolute menace these days is Fake News.

To put it simply, Fake News is not news. It is a false story presented to us as a piece of news, which is nothing but a figment of someone’s imagination.

Fake NewsI know this is a spoon-feeding way of defining it. But unfortunately, this is what is required in today’s times when even the highly educated easily fall for Fake News. For some strange reason, people feel that if something is written on the internet or social media, it has to be true.

The results of believing Fake News can be very serious. It can make an innocent person appear guilty and vice versa. It can also damage the reputation of a person, especially of a celebrity for no fault of his/ her. Just recently, cricketer Hardik Pandya was slammed left, right and center for allegedly insulting Babasaheb Ambedkar when it was his parody account on Twitter that had done that.

So, continuing the same spoon-feeding, let’s have a look at how to identify or detect Fake News. For this, we need to know the various sources from where Fake News can emerge.

‘News’ Websites:

When you come across any news item online, do look at the name of the website. Make sure that the website is a proper news website. As far as India is concerned, examples of proper news websites include TheHindu.com, IndianExpress.com, TimesOfIndia.com, HindustanTimes.com, NDTV.com, DNAIndia.com, News18.com, FirstPost.com, DeccanChronicle.com, etc. In other words, it should be a reputed publication.

In today’s era, it is terribly easy to start your own website. It is very cheap too as you can get a domain name for as less as Rs 500. Plus, you can design your website for free too and give it an authentic look. Hence, we see the emergence of fake news websites like Postcard.News, Swarajya.com, etc. Most of these websites tamper actual news or create fake news to promote government as well as religious propaganda and slam those who share opposing ideologies.

What’s App:

What’s App has been the biggest contributor to Fake News. I wonder how people don’t realize that any Tom, Dick and Harry can write absolutely any rubbish on What’s App and forward. Just because it’s written on What’s App doesn’t mean it is true.

Hilarious ‘news’ like ISIS members spreading AIDS by going door-to-door and ‘Jana Gana Mana’ being declared the Best National Anthem by UNESCO (this is being spread even before social media came into existence) are believed at face value just because they are written in a What’s App message.

So, as soon as you read any news related item on What’s App, just do a simple Google search by adding keywords related to that piece of news. For example, if you get a message saying, ‘Shah Rukh Khan’s new movie is titled Zero,’ just search the words ‘Shah Rukh Khan movie Zero’ on Google and if you find the same news on aforementioned proper news websites, only then consider it to be true.

Jana Gana ManaMemes:

A meme is an image with messages shared on social media and What’s App. It normally has an image of a person with a quote. Sometimes, it has only written matter (like the one in the image on the right). Again, this also can be created by just about anyone.

Fake meme makers always use the kind of a picture that goes well with the comment. Hence, people tend to believe it to be true and keep forwarding, not knowing that they are actually spreading Fake News and damaging someone's reputation. The same Google search method is to be followed here to know if it’s true.

What if genuine news websites carry fake news?

There are times when even reputed publications commit a faux pass and carry Fake News. So, it is advisable not to believe something published on only one website. Check if it has appeared in few other publications too. Unfortunately, there have been instances where almost all reputed online publications have carried wrong news by adding quotes of a person who has actually not said anything on that topic.

So, if you find an unusual or shocking comment from someone, try to find its video on YouTube or wait for few days to get a clear picture. It will almost always be AltNews.in that will burst the most recent Fake News bubble. It’s the biggest Fake News buster of India, which is run by man called Pratik Sinha.

By: Keyur Seta

Abraham Lincoln meme

10Dec/170

Short story: The Kashmiri girl who waited for her father to return

The newspaper vendor at the corner of a quite road in a town in Kashmir was disappointed with not many customers turning up to buy the papers that November morning. He wasn’t surprised though. Who would pay to read the same set of news taking place in the valley?

24 hours ago

Nazia was sitting by the window of their wooden house as dusk neared. The cute 7-year-old was anxiously waiting for her father to return home. At times she would venture out of the house and gaze at the long road ahead. His return would determine whether she would be able to go to school the next day. The principal had given a final warning to Nazia’s parents, who have been unable to pay her fees for that year.

KashmirThe thought itself of not having the company of her friends next day onwards was too depressing for her. Her school was situated right in the middle of few picturesque hills. In fact, the entire town was an epitome of natural beauty. The greenery laden hills turned white during winter after snowfall. The flowerbeds, on the other side, provided perfect compliment.

Kashmir was nicknamed jannat (paradise) for a reason.

Bu the lives of the people from the lower strata of the society, like Nazia’s, didn’t resemble a paradise by any means. With most of the town folk struggling to make ends meet, their inner feeling was complete contrast to the beauty of the town. Just like Nazia’s father, who relied on odd jobs for his family’s survival.

It was a result of the tense political situation in the valley, which can be felt in the air. Clashes between extremists and army had become frequent. ‘Stone pelting’ had lately become the new keyword with regards to the valley.

What made life even tougher was that currently it was the ‘off season.’ November is the time when tourist footfalls decline by a great deal. As a large number of men worked as guides, the off season was no less than hell. So, when they would spot a group of tourists, they would literally hound them. But they can’t be blamed as they have stomachs to fill.

KashmirNazia started getting worried as the sun was about to set. Sundown happens here sometimes even before 5 pm. As she was staring onto the mountain behind which the sun would set any moment, her father emerged in his usual slow walk.

He would always flaunt his red muffler around his neck. His body language and smile told Nazia that his father had managed to get the sum for her school fees. This was confirmed when he happily broke the news after entering the house.

The next day Nazia cheerfully walked to her school. She passed through the newspaper vendor who was disappointed with hardly any newspapers being sold that day. To kill his boredom, he picked up a paper and glanced just to pass his time.

The front page splashed the news of a stone pelting incident that happened in their town the previous day to oppose a political leader’s visit. The picture showed a group of people aggressively pelting stones at a government building. A man standing at the front had a red muffler around his neck.

By: Keyur Seta

Kashmir mountains

15May/140

Lok Sabha Election Result: Pre-Result Analysis

 

Tomorrow's 2014 Lok Sabha Election result is like a match between AUSTRALIA and ZIMBABWE. People supporting the former are sure of victory and have already started celebrating. They will tune in to see the margin of victory. Those supporting the other team will tune it with some hope of miracle. Neutrals like me will only ask from time to time - Oye SCORE kya hua?

But still, let's look at the chances of major political parties:-

Congress: The question shouldn't be whether Congress will win or lose. The question is - by what margin will it lose? Due to the abysmal performance in 10 years, especially the last term, this might well be the party's biggest defeat ever.

BJP: The only party that is sure of winning. The anti-Congress feel, the popularity of Narendra Modi and the crazy marketing campaign will surely work in their favor. It doesn't look as if there will be an upset. But if the party win's only around 200 seats on their own, it will surely be an upset of sorts as it will surely raise a big question on the presence of a 'Modi Wave'.

AAP: They are getting a place in this write-up because of their sudden popularity since December 2013. The Aam Aadmi Party aren't looking to form the government as this is their first Lok Sabha election.  So anything over 4-5 seats will be a great achievement for them. Of course, things would have been different for them had their rule in Delhi wouldn't have turned controversial.

 

All in all, the winner of the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections seems to have been declared already. Let's see whether it turns out to be that way or if there will be a twist in the climax.

 

Keep watching this space for the results.

Picture Source: Livemint.com

Picture Source: Livemint.com

25Sep/120

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Visit blogadda.com to discover Indian blogs

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3Jan/110

My Blog’s Performance in 2010

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here's a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

 

In 2010, there were 33 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 57 posts. There were 135 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 11mb. That's about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 22nd with 83 views. The most popular post that day was In a Civilized Society… .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, en.wordpress.com, orkut.co.in, google.co.in, and twitter.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for male and female symbols, male female symbol, male female symbols, female symbol, and sindhutai sapkal.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

In a Civilized Society… December 2009
7 comments

2

Haapus (Marathi Movie) Review June 2010
10 comments

3

Mee Sindhutai Sapkal Review November 2010
6 comments

4

Zenda (Marathi Movie) Review January 2010
2 comments

5

Ringa Ringa (Marathi Movie) Review March 2010

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