Truth Be Told It's mostly fake during polls

| | New Delhi
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Truth Be Told It's mostly fake during polls

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 | Saumya Shukla | New Delhi

Truth Be Told It's mostly fake during polls

Amid the rising concern over the proliferation of fake news and the "menace" of social media, a survey conducted on the youths of the national Capital, particularly eligible voters, has found that fake news and social media narratives influence the voting decisions of Gen Z (the second youngest generation, born between 1997 and 2012).

A report titled 'Truth be Told,' by the communication consulting firm The 23 Watts, delves deep into the extent of impact this phenomenon has on the youths of Delhi, particularly Gen Z, revealing that 91 per cent of them say it can influence voting decisions.

Not only that, 90 per cent of Gen Z, which includes first-time voters, observes a surge in the prevalence of "fake news" during national events like elections. What makes this data more concerning is that in the vast world of social media feeds, Gen Z is at the forefront of online news consumption. More than half of those who consume and share stories, news, and views online are under 25 years old, making this data more relevant to study.

Moreover, 80 per cent of the population change their perceptions and opinions based on the influence of fake news. This implies that the narrative-setting and idea-building that parties aim to accomplish during elections, by deploying various machinery to utilise social media platforms, have an effect on the minds of even the youth.

It only takes a click to share fake news with your followers and many influencers and media outlets use it to their benefit. More than 59 per cent of the Gen Z falls in trap to sensationalism leading them to share fake news. The report reveals that more than one-third of respondents shared fake news as an emotional reaction and desire to share something that is breaking. This stems from the paradox of this generation who want to share moments and memories which in turn is driving them to share news on the go.

More than 62 per cent of the Delhi Gen Z believes that fake news not only misleads perceptions but also plays as a tool to damage reputations. Further, about half the respondents have shared unauthenticated news later found to be fake albeit 95 per cent claim to authenticate news. For authenticating a piece of information or news, the respondents rely on various tools and methods.

More than 30 per cent of them said they do so by checking the source of the information, followed by 29 per cent claiming that they fact check, 24 per cent talk about it with people in their surrounding, and 11 per cent evaluate the tone of the news.

Amid an ocean of propaganda and narratives packaged in news, it is hard to pin the accountability on anyone but 46 per cent of respondents did take the higher ground and took responsibility for their role in misinformation narratives. However, 89 per cent believe the Government needs to do more to prevent fake news, with about 7 out of 10 respondents suggesting stricter policies are necessary.

In an age where even news media organisations are trying to expand their reach and transform themselves according to modern technology, approximately 66 per cent of Gen Z population relies on internet portals like YouTube, social media, messengers, and online articles for news consumption.

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