Rise of Fake News at a tense time

Since India’s retaliation of the February 15th Pulwama attack, the internet, social media and other platforms have been flooded with fake news. Pictures and videos have been extensively circulated on these platforms. Multiple news channels have also picked up on some of these videos and images that provide misinformation.

Since India’s retaliation of the February 15th Pulwama attack, the internet, social media and other platforms have been flooded with fake news. Pictures and videos have been extensively circulated on these platforms. Multiple news channels have also picked up on some of these videos and images that provide misinformation.

Some of the videos circulated after the Indian Air Force allegedly strike Jaish-e-Mohammed camps are as follows:

1. According to a report by ALT News, one such clip doing the rounds on social media claimed to be of the IAF airstrikes. One particular regional news outlet went to the extent of posting the video as “exclusive”. However, it is evident that it is not genuine and looks like that of a video game. A faint commentary in English is audible too. It turns out, the clip is of a 2015 clip of video game ‘Arma 2’.

2. Another unrelated and old video was shared as a clip of the IAF strike on JeM camps. This one was dubbed as the first visual of the IAF cross-border attack, conducted at around 3:30 am on Feb 26. Several news channels broadcasted the same. In the video, one can see a jet with flares. The video went viral on social media. One post of the video shared by Facebook page ‘The India Eye’, garnering over 225,000 views alone. The original footage, however, dates back to 2017 and was shared by a YouTube channel. It goes by the title ‘Flares at night, Paf F-16’, implying it to be the footage of Pakistan Air Force training in their F-16 fighter jets.

3. The next video that went viral for the wrong reasons showed a group of jubilant defence personnel dancing. The post that shared the footage claimed the soldiers in question were celebrating the success of the Balakot airstrikes. A boomlive.in report found that the said video is a year old. The 30-second footage shows three soldiers shaking their legs to Punjabi dance tracks, only to be joined by more.

Assessment

Our assessment is that outdated and misleading videos are being weaponised by warmongering mobs to break down any chance between India and Pakistan. We believe that citizens of both countries must exercise caution when receiving and circulating these videos.