Daily Management Review

Millions Of Indians Move To YouTube, Even As Fake News And Hoaxes Proliferate


Millions Of Indians Move To YouTube, Even As Fake News And Hoaxes Proliferate
While YouTube is taking measures to tackle the allegations of fake news in its markets in the developed world, it is failing to do so in one of its most prospective and booming markets – India, 
There have been little opposition to fake news, hoaxes and other misleading videos that have proliferated the YouTube in India. while there have been concerns and outcries for measures, very little has been done on ground by the Google-owned service.
For example, there were rumors on YouTube that spread right across India about new currency notes with embedded chips for GPS tracking soon after the Indian government announced invalidation of old currency notes in November of 2016.
And more recently, French President was at the topic of fake news when videos and pictures made the rounds that Emmanuel Macron had touched the feet of Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi – a sign of respect for the elderly in Indian culture, during his recent visit to the country.
Further, the death of a famous actress in India – Sridevi, last month, resulted in proliferation of multiple videos on YouTube's Trending feed in India with false news and statements. During those days, the YouTube in India was dominated by such news-based videos – most of which were created by unverified channels.
The company is attempting to fix the issue, a Google spokesperson told the media.
According to Google, a special feed for India has been created by it to better cater to its non-English speaking Internet audiences.
Additionally, millions of Indians now have gained access to the internet and the internet-based video services as internet prices in the country has been drastically reduced. This has primarily been possible because of the offer made by Reliance Jio which is owned by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani and is just one and half years old.
Research firm eMarketer says that just in the last 2 years, about 70 million new users have been added to YouTube. The firm said that at the end of 2017, there were about 172 million active monthly users of YouTube.
"India has become a video-first market," Rajan Anandan, vice president of Google for Southeast Asia and India said in a recent interview. "YouTube consumption is off the roof."
Compared to the users of the internet who had earlier been making use of internet-based services, the literacy level of the current batch of people in India doing the same is lower, says Prabhakar Kumar, co-ordinator of CMS Medialab. This firm monitors media trends in India. This is one of the reasons that fake news has proliferated in the country.
Earlier, social media platform of Facebook and WhatApp have been facing allegations of doing nothing to prevent circulation of fake news. These are the two most popular social networking platforms in India. And it is at this juncture that the popularity of YouTube is on the rise.
Another problem is that those users who have been associated with or have bene using YouTube for long claim that their video are not able to gain the popularity that they deserve primarily because of the popularity of these fake videos.
Pankaj Jain, founder of SMHoaxSlayer, another organization which debunks fake news says that there needs to be serious consideration given to mechanisms that can control the flow of fake news on YouTube especially with the expanding reach of the medium

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