Soon after the trends indicated a clear majority for the Bharatiya Janata Party, the eve of May 23 saw the whole nation singing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's tune. Where one side of the results led to memes on social media, the other came up with posts containing fake news. Not only on the day of counting, fake posts in connection with PM Modi are still seen on social media.
Fact-checking platform BOOM cross-checked a number of posts on the social media, that were later found to be fake.
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If you too came across posts that shook you, it's time you cross-check the authenticity of those. Some of the most popular ones are listed below.
# A post claiming "Welcome Modi Ji" written on all the city buses of London soon started doing the rounds on social media platforms, which was later confirmed fake. The images used for the posts originated in 2015, when a bus named "Modi Express" was launched by the Indians living in the UK, the fact checkers found.
# Another video which turned out to be fake was one showing a Gujarati man, who got so elated with Modi's re-election that he showered cash on people in Milton, Canada. The caption that accompanied the video claimed that the man made a lot of profit after the share market responded positively to Modi's re-election. BOOM traced the viral video to the Instagram account of a Detroit, US-based man. It found that the video, originally shot in New York, was uploaded much before the election results in India were declared and it had nothing to do with the celebration of BJP's victory.
# Moreover, a video that went viral on May 23 eve showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his mother. While social media users claimed that the video was shot after BJP's landslide victory in the elections, it was found to be of the year 2014.
# BOOM also found that following the victory of the BJP, a quote that was falsely attributed to Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan in the past resurfaced on WhatsApp. "I would leave India if Modi becomes the PM of this country," the actor was falsely quoted as saying in the post, that demanded that the actor should now "apologise or leave the country as PM Modi is back". BOOM traced the quote to a fake tweet and fake news report that celebrated the 2018 April Fool's Day with the false information.
# One post claimed that six lakh votes polled in favour of Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Kerala's Wayanad mysteriously disappeared from the records. The same was later found to be fake.
These posts, however, are only the tip of the iceberg as many more fake posts are doing the rounds on social media. According to BOOM Founder Govindraj Ethiraj, the spread of fake news reached an "all-time high" in the run-up to the 2019 general election.
The flow of fake news after the election results suggests that the tide of misinformation on social media is unlikely to stop any time soon.
"The biggest challenge to fighting fake new is that over 300 million of the 550 million smartphone and broadband users in the country are low on literacy and digital literacy and are especially gullible," leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K Roy had earlier said.