How long can one ignore a problem before it becomes a liability? In recent past, a fake Whatsapp forward that went viral led to lynching of 8 people in Jharkhand. A photoshopped image of Kaaba has led to riots in Baduria, West Bengal in 2017. A photoshopped image of some Hindu gods led to lynching of a 24 year old techie in Pune, Maharashtra in 2014. Fakery in the form of shady news websites, bogus WhatsApp forwards and morphed images has become omnipresent in our lives in the recent years.
However, not once has the Union Government or any of the State Governments even acknowledged the explosion of disinformation in the recent years. It was only inevitable that this multi-headed hydra would bite them at some point in time.
On 3rd July 2017, Government of India had to put out a press release which stated, “There are some messages going around in the social media stating that the temple trusts have to pay the GST while the churches and mosques are exempt. This is completely untrue because no distinction is made in the GST Law on any provision based on religion. We request to people not to start circulating such wrong messages on social media.”
Finance Ministry also relayed the same information regarding the rumours via its official Twitter account.