'Misinformation in India Linked to Deaths', Says US Talkshow Host John Oliver

US host John Oliver says online misinformation has been a real issue in India, often linked to violence and deaths.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>John Oliver speaks about misinformation in his show 'Last Week Tonight'.</p></div>

Popular US television host John Oliver talked about misinformation on social media platforms and the intensity with which it spreads, on his show 'Last Week Tonight', that premiered on 11 October.

Oliver touched upon how online misinformation has been a real issue in India and has been linked to "violence and death" in the country, citing news reports.

He goes to play the advertisement by WhatsApp to tackle fake news in India, featuring content creator Prajakta Koli.

"It's a nice sentiment, but it is also not great when you have to produce a PSA centrally saying, look some of our service is dangerous, nonsense, and if you could help clean it up for us, that would be really great," Oliver sarcastically said.

Speaking about misinformation that is spread about COVID-19, Oliver shared examples of WhatsApp Forwards about coronavirus myths that claims, "Ayurveda doctors can cure coronavirus" and "black pepper and lemon juice can help cure the virus," adding, "which would be great news, if it was true, but it isn't."

He also shared a TikTok video which features a man making a "WhatsApp tutorial for brown parents" which showed all ingredients on how to make a fake news forward, which can convince, most, if not all.

At the end, he also shared solutions saying, ideally platforms like Facebook, YouTube and others, must be pro-active about taking down misinformation in other languages, as they are about taking it down in English.

Speaking about private-messaging apps, Oliver said, they too haven't done enough, and have only taken "half measures" to curb the spread of misinformation.

Talking about WhatsApp forwards limit up to five people, he said, "It might sound good, but in practice, it leaves plenty of room for damage."

You can watch the full video here.

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