The 17th Lok Sabha Elections are knocking on our doors and this time social media could prove to be pivotal in deciding the outcome of the elections.
By Rudrankar Raha
Bengaluru, April 8, 2019
Political parties have been regularly using social media to connect with people instantly. From Narendra Modi, Shashi Tharoor, and Rahul Gandhi, everyone uses social media to communicate with voters.
“Social media is used to analyze public opinion and mood of the public on any issue or about a person. It is used by political parties to build opinion in favor of any policy or program. Social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook are effective tools to give opinions and reactions on any event, thereby it helps establish a relationship with prospective voters,” said Sonali Singh, a political analyst, and political science professor, at a Central University.
Social media Giants like Facebook and WhatsApp are also fighting hard against the menace of fake news. Several political parties have used the medium to spread malicious information about a candidate or a party.
The instant-messenger application WhatsApp is a breeding ground for disseminating fake news. With an active user base of more than 200 million in India, WhatsApp can be crucial in this years’ election.
Singh, while commenting on the phenomenon of fake news said: “Fake news can contain false information that can malign the image of politicians contesting elections. It is used for creating a disturbance by spreading malicious information about some events or happenings. Fake news can be used for manipulating public opinion which can influence the citizens to NOT vote for the right candidate.
There have been instances when fake news has been used to spread communal disharmony and for political mobilization along religious lines during elections. People nowadays rely more on Facebook and Facebook-owned messenger app WhatsApp for information, and both educated and illiterate can get misled by fake news and elect demagogues, harming the essence of democracy.”
Fake news is being used to build images of politicians and parties, thereby befooling voters which in turn can heavily influence the outcome of elections.