In the past study, we had looked at the subtopics of our COVID-19-related fact checks, and found that most of them were highly communal topics, followed closely by misinformation around lockdown and fake cures/prevention/treatments for the disease.
In May and June, lockdown became the dominant sub-topic, as COVID-19-related communal misinformation took a backseat. Meanwhile, there was a sharp rise in misinformation related to migrant labours.
This was fuelled by the migrant worker crisis in India due to the lockdown, which lead to the deaths of many such daily wage earners and their family members due to starvation, exhaustion, suicide, accidents, police brutality and lack of medical care.
As the lockdown left many daily wage earners in urban landscapes without jobs, income and food security, many took to the roads to make it back to their villages on foot, due to the lack of transportation. While the government took some steps later on to mitigate their distress, hundreds of such daily wage earners lost their lives in the process.
Although the plight of migrant workers is real, there was a surge in misinformation around the exodus in the month of May. There were cases of unrelated images being shared to show migrant workers in India in distress during the lockdown, while some used unrelated videos to make false allegations against migrant workers.While coronavirus still remains one of the biggest topic of misinformation online, there was a little break from this norm in India in June 2020. The next page will look closer at the India-China Conflict that led to this sudden change.
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