Rumours and Social Media
According to the Oxford dictionary, the word “rumour” means ‘A currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth’. In the world of modern technology when there are such a platforms called social media where almost every person is connected with each other and are sending and spreading messages and other things there may be a chance of such things to happen.
A couple of years before one such high-intensity rumour spread all over the Kashmir valley. Panic gripped the valley right after parents came back from a health centre after administering polio drops to their children, news spread like wildfire that few of the babies have died after taking a polio drop. Later on, when the fact was ascertained it turned out to be a rumour and utterly false news. There are numerous such examples were people came to know about something and blindly spread that without bothering to check its veracity.
Let’s analyze what the Quran says in Chapter 49 ayat 6 “O you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you harm people unwittingly, and afterward become full of repentance for what you have done”. As per a Hadees; The Messenger of Allah Prophet Mohammad (SAW) said: “It is enough lying for a man to speak of everything that he hears” (Muslim). So, The Quran and Last Messenger of Allah have already guided us to ascertain the information before spreading it. Meanwhile despite knowing the fact that spreading unauthenticated information which has no sources is prohibited and is against the law of the country, but yet we have rumour mongers in this society. Police have booked many rumour mongers under section 505 of Indian penal code in past and are continuously keeping an eye on such elements.
A wise person has said: “Rumours are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots”. But sometimes a reasonable man falls prey especially in this era of social media and becomes a rumour monger. Now the question is how? When we use an application like WhatApp which is present in almost everyone phone these days we receive a message and if we like it we just share it. In no time it is spread and we become tools wittingly or unwittingly.
We can avoid becoming tools for spreading rumors by simply adopting a policy for ourselves. That is it is not part of our duty to spread a message as it is not verified. I will go to the extent of saying we should strictly avoid forwarding religious texts as we do not know if its authentic or a fabrication. The important point is that we add our mobile number in numerous WhatsApp and Facebook groups or we do like unofficial and those pages which are run by unknown persons. Many such persons just copy the content and paste the same on their Facebook or Whataspp pages.
Well the right way is to become a member of only those groups or pages which belong to bonafide organizations like Kashmir Observer which are responsible for their content as they have tools and wherewithal to verify every story they produce.
These WhatsApp groups are monitored/run by journalists. We also need not like or follow those Facebook pages which are not verified nor have any authority to run the same.