Last week Facebook deleted Post Card News’s official page. The social networking site’s spokespersons refused to share further details or explanation for their action. This action was a stern message to right-wing sites that try to incite hatred with their content.
According to multiple reports, Post Card News has posted several fake news items in the past. The site’s co-founder Mahesh Hegde had to spend few nights in jail due to his site’s constant attempt aimed at inciting hatred and disturbing law and order in the state of Karnataka. He’s facing charges under IPC sections 120B, 295A, 153A, etc.
Not just Post Card, but almost every RW website claims to be the savior of truth, fighting against the so-called presstitutes from mainstream media. For their writers, whoever criticizes the Modi Government is either a presstitute or anti-national.
Rather than developing investigative, fact-based articles on issues ignored by the mainstream media, most of the Right Wing sites prefer to re-write politically motivated news stories published by the mainstream media. Forget about field journalists, very few of them have professionally qualified journalists, lawyers or other experts writing for them. The RW websites eco-system mostly depends on content contributed free of cost by the BJP supporters. The aim is simple, show the BJP Government in a good light. In some cases, it can be noted that writers working for such websites twist the news stories and make them provocative in tone, communal in nature.
No doubt, the left’s narrative dominated mainstream media in India until 2012. Readers were enthusiastic and eager for a balanced, center right narrative, but, with accurate information, and of course, facts. People were surely not looking for politically motivated content that aims at spreading hatred.
Modi Government urged Facebook and Whatsapp to act against fake news
On July 3, 2018, the ministry of electronics and IT, headed by Ravi Shankar Prasad, issued a stern warning to Whatsapp for allowing the circulation of rumors and explosive messages.
Ravi Shankar Prasad’s move has probably boomeranged on the website run by its own cadre. Post Card News’ founders enjoy full support from the ruling regime. Several union ministers share the site’s articles which are often full of grammatical errors.
Since April this year, Facebook, which also controls Whatsapp, joined hands with a fact-checking network called BOOM. The news network works with Facebook and reviews all the English news stories that are reported as inaccurate by Facebook users.
Anyway, let’s hope that all the RW sites, as well as portals that make news based on gossip and Whatsapp forwards, have learned their lesson. Facebook and Whatsapp have intensified their war against fake news sites as well as those that re-write and spin articles from other sites. They cannot merely go on spewing venom using social networking sites anymore. Traffic achieved with ‘click-bait’ headlines will be history soon.
(The author of this column is a consultant journalist and was associated with Post Card News in the past. He left them in December 2016 due to the extremely unprofessional way in which the editorial decisions are taken.)
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