Editorial inputs: Kritika and Abhilash Mallick
Camera: Athar Rather
Video editor: Rajbir Singh
One of the most difficult conversations to have on a family WhatsApp group is to tell your relative that they share a lot of fake news. Because let's face it – that doesn't always go down well with them. Does it?
Then what should you do? Ignore it and let them fall for the lies? Or explain it to them?
I'd suggest the latter. Follow these simple steps so that you can help your family and friends sift fact from fake.
Don't call them out on WhatsApp: Shaming someone on a public group might not be a good idea. Take it offline and explain your point of view to your relative. That improves the chances of them understanding you and also reduces the chances of an ugly fight.
Be empathetic: Not always do people share false information to mislead others. Often they believe what they are sharing. Sometimes the reason behind sharing a message is rooted in concern. So, be empathetic and ask them the source of their information.
If the source is a WhatsApp or Telegram group, explain it to them that the information has no credible source and that it could very well be misinformation.
Show evidence to support your argument: When you back your argument with evidence, it becomes much clearer and the other person would be more accepting given the tangible proof.
Don't follow the 'I am right, you're wrong approach': It's important to be gentle and not condescending. Tell them why what they are sharing maybe wrong and don't look down upon them. Don't shame them.
Don't expect things to change in a day: Finally, don't expect to change their behaviour in a day. It will take time and give them that time.
These small things will go a long way in fighting mis/disinformation.
(This is the seventh video of a series titled 'Verify Kiya Kya?' exploring the nuances of fact-checking and media literacy. In the next video, we will talk about how to use publicly available data to fact-check claims made by politicians and other public figures. Stay tuned!)