India election 2019: The debunked fake news that keeps coming back

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India election 2019: The debunked fake news that keeps coming back Empty India election 2019: The debunked fake news that keeps coming back

Post by eddie on Mon Apr 22, 2019 11:16 pm

The largest democratic exercise in history is under way to decide who will govern India for the next five years - but there are serious concerns about the extent of false information circulating online.

In the lead-up to the vote, there have been vigorous efforts by fact-checking organisations and social media platforms to debunk misleading information or misrepresentation.
These efforts are a first step, but it's clear that false information is still being spread.
Reality Check looks at some of the misleading rumours that have persisted during this election campaign.

Sonia Gandhi and the Queen:

A false story that has been widely shared on social media claims Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born leader of the main opposition Congress party, is richer than the Queen. But the story was debunked six years ago.
In a country where income inequality is a highly emotive issue, inaccurate stories about levels of personal wealth, particularly of politicians, can be highly damaging to reputations.
The story has its origins in newspaper articles dating back to 2012.
And the Huffington Post published a rich list of world leaders that included Sonia Gandhi in 2013, but later removed her name after the amount they said she was worth was called into question.
Mrs Gandhi declared assets worth 90 million rupees (around £1m) during the last elections in 2014. Estimates of the Queen's wealth are far higher.
But the story has still been widely shared during this election campaign, including by a spokesman for the ruling BJP.

The surveys that weren't:

The spreading of fake opinion surveys and non-existent awards are particular favourites on social media.
There was a story doing the rounds for quite a while that the UN's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) had named Mr Modi as the world's best prime minister.
It was patently false as Unesco does not have such an award.
However, the story has persisted and has been back in circulation during the election campaign.

Fake fingers?:

Plenty of false information about voting procedures can also spread during election campaigns.
In India every voter is required to dip a finger in purple dye so they can't vote more than once.
One false rumour that has resurfaced this month claims that prosthetic fingers are being used to allow people to vote multiple times.
The idea here, presumably, is that you'd dip the fake finger in the ink, then return to vote again using your own real finger, or perhaps another fake finger.

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