A wise man once said “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups”. He didn’t say it in the context of social media but it would be pretty much applicable if he did! Almost everyday in India (and globally) we come across things on the internet that make us curious, angry, sad, crazy, upset and we share that image/post/information without even pausing to think for a moment whether that post seems logical or true. And since we humans follow a herd mentality, such posts go viral, resulting in thousands of hours being spent on views and comments. Some of these posts turn out to be outright hoaxes planted by mischief mongers. Here are some of the most glaring examples from India that just tells you why you should never blindly believe or share what you read on social media!
1. Photoshopped Patriotism
A spokesperson of the ruling party had a face palm moment when it was pointed out that the image he was proudly showing on his tablet of Indian soldiers hoisting the tricolour at Kargil was actually a photoshopped version of the Pulitzer Prize winning photograph titled Raising the Flag at Iwo Jima. It was taken by Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945, on Mount Suribachi in the island of Iwo Jima in the Pacific Ocean, during the final months of World War II. Needless to say the photoshopped image was widely shared on social media by chest thumping “nationalists”
2. Scare mongering over candy!
A few days back someone from Ahmedabad put out this mischievous warning about the candy, Pulse, on Facebook.
Now when you make up such allegations, you’ve got to back it up with hard evidence. Since none was shared, people were quick to question the motives of the guy who made the post. Now you can’t sully the reputation of a hugely popular candy like Pulse and hope to get away lightly can you? Many loyal consumers even started trolling Dhaval Gandhi in a show of fan support similar to what we saw for Maggi a few months back!
3. The day the internet killed Arnold Schwarzenegger!
On 28th August 2015, a website that pushes fake content put out a story about the Hollywood superstar and former California Governor passing away from a heart attack. The news spread like wildfire and many Arnie fans in India like the rest of the world went into mourning. Thankfully they didn’t suffer for long as a clarification was made. The Terminator was alive and well!
4. Lord Hanuman’s Gadha Was Found. Well, Almost!
Social media was abuzz when this image was widely shared along with the news that Lord Hanuman’s gadha (mace) had been excavated in Sri Lanka. Well, turns out the image was actually of the gadha being installed on a huge Hanumanji statue in Indore on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti in 2013.
5. Woman Gives Birth To 11 Babies!
Well, you guessed it right. Another brilliant hoax. This picture was of 11 test tube babies born on 11/11/11 at a hospital in Surat, Gujarat.
6. Anurag Kashyap Fakes His Eye Injury!
He put up this image on Instagram with this caption “Now they put a plaster. This is what happens when you get into a brawl with a MMA fighter”. Needless to say this news got picked up by news sites and his fans on social media. No one bothered to verify its authenticity till Kashyap revealed the prank. He proved his point that we believe almost anything that’s shared on the internet without even bothering to do basic checks!
Well the key takeaway we hope for you after reading this story is to always do a little research before you blindly believe in something you saw on the internet. And incase you forget, this meme will always remind you!