Fake news a real threat in Indian elections

Staff of fact-checking website altnews.in in Ahmedabad checking photos and videos posted on various social media platforms. PHOTO: REUTERS
Staff of fact-checking website altnews.in in Ahmedabad checking photos and videos posted on various social media platforms. PHOTO: REUTERS

Problem deepens as social media becomes key campaign tool; parties blame one another of spreading fake news

A photograph of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan interacting with the country's army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa may not seem that unusual. But the photograph went viral in India, which is in the middle of particularly acrimonious general elections, as it also featured Congress president Rahul Gandhi among others sitting in a corner.

The pictures were found to be doctored but went viral at a time when there is anger against Pakistan following an outbreak of hostilities between India and Pakistan over the killing of 40 Indian soldiers in Pulwama in Kashmir and parties have accused each other of cosying up to Pakistan.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2019, with the headline 'Fake news a real threat in Indian elections'. Print Edition | Subscribe