The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released its detailed document of recorded crime, titled 'Crime in India 2021'. This set of documents showed a drastic 42 percent drop in the number of cases recorded under Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) – dealing with cases of circulation of 'fake/false news/rumours.'
As per available data, the number of cases filed under this section was 486 in 2019, 1,527 in 2020, and 882 in 2021.
How Did States Fare?
With an overall observed drop in cases registered for spreading rumours, falsehoods, or "fake news," we took a look at the state-wise division of the recorded cases.
Telangana topped the list for the second consecutive year, recording 218 cases under IPC Section 505, followed by Tamil Nadu with 139 cases, Madhya Pradesh with 129, Uttar Pradesh with 82 cases, and Maharashtra coming in fifth with 66 cases recorded in 2021.
States such as Odisha, Mizoram, Goa, and Arunachal Pradesh did not record any cases related to the dissemination of misinformation, whereas the Union Territory of Lakshadweep recorded two.
Ladakh, Daman and Diu, and Jammu and Kashmir recorded one case each.
Of all the cases, five of them were registered against juveniles (all males), of which four were under 12 years of age.
Communal Narratives, Politics, And Scripted Videos
Over the course of 2021, Team WebQoof saw a host of different claims being used to push mis/disinformation on social media platforms. The year saw a sharp rise in the number of scripted videos being shared as videos of real incidents, often with communally charged claims.
You can read our debunking of several claims shared with scripted videos here.
The months leading up to the Uttar Pradesh elections, the polling for which was held from February 2022, were also filled with 'fake news.'
From posts sharing made up promises by Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav for appeasement, to visuals of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath being shared with misleading claims, 2021 saw rampant misinformation surrounding the elections in the country's largest state (by population).
Lastly, several videos of attacks, violence, and other gruesome incidents were widely shared on social media, often with a communal spin to them.
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