214% Rise In Reported Circulation Of Fake News In 2020: NCRB Report
NCRB's data highlights the growing prevalence of fake news following the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ensuing lockdowns.
The year 2020 saw an increase of 214 per cent in reported instances of circulation of fake news or rumours from the past year, rising from 486 instances in 2019 to 1527 in 2020, as per the latest report by the National Crime Records Bureau.
These are instances of fake news and rumour circulation, that have been reported to the police.
This marks the steepest increase in reported instances of circulation of fake news, since the NCRB started collecting such data in 2018. In the 2018 report, only 280 such instances of circulation of fake news was reported.
NCRB's data on fake news circulation highlights the growing prevalence of false rumours and fake news following the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ensuing lockdowns, which led to many people greatly increase their internet consumption in India, and abroad. This eventually led the World Health Organisation to declare an 'infodemic' of misinformation, especially around the virus, across the globe.
One of our past studies had also revealed how misinformation, especially around COVID-19, boomed with rising cases in India in March, and reached its peak in April after communal claims became viral following the aftermath of an event organised by Islamic missionary group Tablighi Jamaat.
The state with the highest reported instances of fake news circulation was Telangana, with 273 such cases, followed by Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, with 188 and 166 cases, respectively.
Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh each reported only one instance of fake news circulation, lowest among the states.
The report also showed that nearly every Union Territory had zero cases of circulation of fake news, with the exception of Delhi (30 instances) and Jammu & Kashmir (21 instances).