Latest study finds India world’s biggest ‘fake news producer’

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NEW DELHI – A recent study conducted by a researcher from a Canadian university has found that India is biggest center of misinformation regarding novel coronavirus in the world, reported Indian media on Thursday.

The study of the University of Alberta’s researcher has been published in Sage journal, suggesting that 91% of fake news about Covid-19 were spread by internet-based sources during the period of a year and a half.

It adds that social media is the greatest producer of information as 85% of the misleading content was shared from these digital channels.

The researcher examined 9,657 pieces of misinformation emerging from 138 countries during the period from January 1, 2020, to March 1, 2021.

The researcher named Md Sayeed Al-Zaman collected the data for his dissertation from Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) website, which currently has the most comprehensive Covid-19 misinformation data collected from all over the world, Times of India reported.

The study found that 16% out of 91% of fake news were spread from India, adding that it is followed by Brazil (9%) and the USA (8.6%).

The researcher is of the view that the weak information and communication infrastructure, weak (digital) information literacy and information awareness among people could be the major reasons for higher COVID-19 misinformation in the South Asian country.

He said that fake information increases when a reliable data about a crisis is not available to public.

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