Media MAAHIR: Defeating Misinformation

Project Lead: Arafat Mirza

There are 340 million WhatsApp users in India alone, making it the leading country in terms of WhatsApp audience size (25% of the population). There is a section of population who literally treat WhatsApp like a newspaper. They don’t know the difference between social media and mainstream media. They don’t know that there is a browser they can go on to and search. Very often viral posts on social media are provocative in nature and tend to have some mis or disinformation. People fall prey to misinformation because of either total lack of the phenomenon of misinformation or succumbing to confirmation bias – readily agreeing with information that confirms pre-existing world view – or lack of the necessary skills to separate fact from fiction. Those who are not direct victims of misinformation contribute to the crisis by forwarding unverified content to others. Misinformation rears its ugly head in the form of instigating communal discords, discrediting medical and scientific authoritative facts, defaming upright individuals and groups, political parties maligning each other for votes. We are who we are because of the decisions we take. Our decisions depend on information we gather. The world is suffering from an ‘infodemic’ the cure for which is with the victims themselves.

Goal:To limit the spread of misinformation on social media and its dangers in India

– Spread awareness about the widespread existence of misleading information on social media and its dangers.
– Educate people how to identify potentially misleading information and question it.
– Encourage people not to use or share unverified or false information – Train a critical number of Fact Checkers Implementation

Step 1- Assembling the right team
Step 2- Team Information gathering and training and Survey
Step 3- Content development
Step 4- Disseminate posters and video on social media; Pilot school online course; Pilot webinars
Step 5- Evaluation and adjustments; Expand ambassadorial team and full scale implementation of project