The impact of false or fake news has taken form of a worldwide phenomenon. Fake news is spread by people in various forms such as to gain in politics, to promote or demean celebrities, to create fear, to sell products, to play pranks, to make their business more visible and many more. The statistics show that fake news poses a negative influence on society, the internet, political discourse, and politics throughout the world.
Fake news can also be seen as a journalism that comprise of deliberate misinformation, that has the primary objective is to compel people to act on it and take action. As per the findings, around 87 percentage of people who took survey felt that fake news became worse by the social media. Around 83 percentage of people have admitted to the fact that such misinformation adversely impacts the politics of the nation.
Fake news has often seen to have played a role in various cases of civil discontent and has led to confusion during crisis. Though, it comes under a punishable offense to spread malicious fake news on the web, it is an offensive act under the law of most of the governments.
Advertisements are one of the ways to spread fake news. People in large number share such fake ads regularly on social media without knowing the truth behind it. Incessant sharing of these ads, liking and commenting on them gives power to them. The creators of these fake ads get benefited by achieving their targets, and fulfilling their goals. As fake news is a punishable offense, the creators of fake news when proven of their crime are sent to prison bars.
Fake news has become a term used for disbelieving stories. It is widely used in the political ground to impact the political proceedings and election campaigns throughout the world. Inventors of fake news knows the potential that it carries and so uses it to gain a competitive edge over others in elections. A single fake news post is sufficient to bring a drastic change in the result of an election. One fake article is comparable to around 40 persuasive television campaign advertisements.
Let us look at the attributes of an online fake news: Fake news spreads very quickly like an epidemic. It can lead to an irreversible harm to people. The consequences of fake news are very serious. It can have a long-lasting impact on people. In a few cases, it can even cause suicidal tendencies and other damages that are irreparable. Fake news promotes violence, and negative tendencies in people. This is mostly seen during elections.
One of the very complicated areas of the falsehood is to establish who is answerable for the dispersion of lies, and fiction online. There are several state actors, specialized interest groups, private individuals, and political campaigns with varying objectives that ranges from commercial objectives to disruption to political influence. As there are several state actors involved in spreading of fake news, finding out who is accountable for causing it is difficult. Regulating laws in such an environment is difficult.
So, what is the legal solution for it?
Though the current laws may prevent people to post falsehoods by sanctioning heavy punishments on people. They don’t actually deal with the fake news incidence. New regulation is required to address this issue by either clarifying, or removing the falsehood. Our government need a holistic approach that is a combination of education with lawful solutions towards dealing with fake news.
Imprecise beliefs lead to a danger to the democracy of a nation. Governments all across the world is trying measures and solutions to curb the occurrence, and impact of fake news. India being a democratic country that provides freedom of expression to every single citizen of the country. So, restricting freedom of information, and speech can bring isn’t a simple task. It can bring a lot of practical challenges. Various governments like the governments of Singapore has set up a committee on ‘deliberate digital falsehoods’ where the government understands how it requires to attune its present legal system to deal with the increasing impact of false information.
Social media platforms have become the commonest medium for propagation of fake news. It is increasingly under a sense of pressure from regulators. Non-state, as well as state actors are not able to use Twitter, Facebook, and other similar platforms to form a political discourse. Government warns people that regulation of ‘fake news’ should be carried out with sensitivity. You should ensure that it doesn’t drift into forming limitations on liberty of speech.