Politics of Fake News: How WhatsApp Became a Potent Propaganda Tool in India

Politics of Fake News: How WhatsApp Became a Potent Propaganda Tool in India

GOWHAR FAROOQ
Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India

Media Watch 9 (1) 106-117, 2018

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2018/v9i1/49279

While the Internet and multimedia applications have made it easy to produce and spread media, they have also made it possible to distribute fake news to masses. With over 200 million active users in India and growing, WhatsApp’s reach and features make it a top choice to spread fake news. This not only influences public opinion in India but has also sometimes created panic and incited to violence. This paper looks into how political propaganda is peddled through the WhatsApp in the form of ‘news’ (fake news). It also explores what makes the WhatsApp such a powerful application in Indian context, how do people use it and how existing laws in India make it difficult to trace the origin of the fake news.