Police get a guide to detect fake news

#GS? #?

Manual asks officers to fact-check with reliable sites

  • The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) has published a step-by-step guide for law enforcement agencies to identify “fake news” and videos intended to spread panic through hatred and communal violence in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The digital news has brought back and increased the usage of fake news or yellow journalism, usually published with the intent to damage an agency, entity or a person and gain financially or politically.
  • Often using sensationalist, dishonest or outright fabricated headlines to increase readership.

‘Look for trusted source’

  • Photos, audio recordings, and videos can be edited to mislead the recipient. 
  • Look at trusted news sources to verify whether the story is being reported elsewhere. 
  • When a story is reported in multiple places, it is more likely to be true, asking the officers to read beyond “outrageous” headlines designed to attract clicks. 
  • It asked them to read the whole story and also do a “quick search on the author” if he or she is “reliable and real.”
  • The manual gives an indicative list of websites that could be accessed for fact-checking including thehindu.com, pib.gov.in and reporterlabs.org among others.

Communal angle

  • To explain the communal aspect, the guidelines include a screenshot of a fake video which accused Muslims of licking cleaned plates and spoons to “transfer the virus to people at large”.
  • It also attached a clip where miscreants used fake URLs to mislead people who wanted to donate to PM-CARES fund.
  • The guidelines ask police and other investigating agencies to use open domain tools to authenticate content such as Google Reverse Image search for collecting more information on fake videos.
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