Ripple effect of misinformation on Internet

Chennai: At this age and time, where resources are aplenty it is a task to extract fact from fake information available online. If you feel discomfort after reading it, you should be alarmed when you read the articles that come with ‘easy tips’ and ‘simple cures’ for an ailment. Yes, the web is enormous and does not have an automated mechanism to categorise false information.

Search cure for fever on Google, the results would run for several pages. Alas! Not every website provides authentic information. If Google is one source, Facebook and YouTube are the other two key providers of misinformation. With the availability of mobile phones and access to Internet, it has become easy for people, who want to propagate the information they get from doctors, to put it out there.

To make matters worse is the set of people, who fall into the trap and believe whatever is spoken or written just because it has garnered millions of views or thousands of comments/shares. The simple instance of ‘mandating eight glasses of water per day’ is the apt example to cite. While it has been widely circulated on WhatsApp, doctors advocate consuming based on the lifestyle that each one needs.

Most often, users do not realise that the needs of a person changes over time. The amount of consumption need not be necessarily the same for different generations. It depends on the work nature, life style and several other factors and the metabolic changes that occur influence activities happening inside a human body.

Another instance is the death of a pregnant woman for involving in delivery of the baby at home. Yes, back in those days when healthcare services was different from that of the present one, with the help of midwives, the eldest women practiced it. The women knew how the pregnant mother’s body would behave and when the baby has to be pulled out. However, with no such knowledge on the cues and performing it in the present day context has been proven dangerous.

Now that we have understood and aware of the availability of myths and fake information, we have to take the next step to read up about it and research on the same web before falling into the trap.

Bhavani Prabhakar