Did viral WhatsApp messages lead to the killing of 22 people across 10 states in India? Why are people being killed because of viral WhatsApp message? Why does a mob turn into a 'gang of killers' after reading WhatsApp message? What’s the truth behind the viral messages which is converting humans into monsters? Answers to these questions are important to understand because 22 people have reportedly been killed across 10 states due to few viral WhatsApp messages. The police in different states are yet to find the origin and source of such viral messages that led to the killings of over 20 people across India.
India TV team, during its investigation, found that the viral WhatsApp messages spread rumours which further instigate the people to take law into their hands.
In last four years, India has witnessed 150% growth in social media users and 83% growth in smartphone usage. At 22 crore, India has the maximum number of WhatsApp users which is expected to touch 45 crore by 2022. However, the massive growth of social media is also creating challenges for the law enforcement agencies.
The wide spread of rumours and misinformation has never been easier before the massive growth of social media. The law enforcement agencies haven't yet figured out an effective way to deal with such a decentralised phenomena.
For example, in Jamshedpur of Jharkhand, a WhatsApp message claimed that a gang of child-lifters was active in the area. The message did spread like wild-fire and the villagers started attacking strangers. As a result, many innocent people lost their lives and the violence took a communal turn also.
Similarly, in Assam, a musician lost his life over WhatsApp rumours of the presence of child-lifter gang in the area.
Watch IndiaTV’s special show – Aaj Ka Viral - that unearths the mystery behind the WhatsApp message killings: