Dr Webqoof Election Edition | Roundup of Fake News We’ve Busted

I'm glad you didn't miss your appointment this month.  Election season is highly prone to infection from fake news. And I'm not just saying it. We at team Webqoof  busted over 95 fake news stories just in the month of April. By the time you see this video we would have crossed a hundred. Let's get to it!

Rahul Gandhi

The fake news factory has been surprisingly free of ‘stories’ of Jawaharlal Nehru this month. Why bother, when his great-grandson Rahul Gandhi is such an open target?  

First on the list is a 10-second clip in which he supposedly says “A UP woman gives birth to 52 babies a year”. Twitter and Facebook went to town with this, sharing it with more velocity than a 120kmph sneeze.

So is it real or fake? It is Rahul Gandhi and it is his voice but it's also completely fake. Here's where context is important. Team Webqoof traced the clip to the original video that was 8 minutes long, and posted by India TV in 2011. Rahul Gandhi was talking about gross malpractice that was occurring under the national rural health mission and how the BSP was misusing it. The 10-second clip takes it completely out of context and portrays a different picture.

Rahul Gandhi bore the brunt of a host of other fake news items from 'Pakistani flags being waved at Wayanad' to filing his nomination in the city while seated. All viral. All fake.

But the virus of fake news, unlike those who spread it, is not one-sided or partial. Fake news on political parties and their leaders have been busted – whether it’s Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi.

Narendra Modi

A picture showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi wearing a green skull cap and feasting with Pakistan PM Imran Khan has been doing the rounds on social media. This was right after the Pulwama attack.  

The message, which also went viral on Facebook further questions Modi, “Is there some ‘deep secret‘ behind this friendship or is there some sort of benefit Pakistan plans to derive from you (Modi)?” A reverse image search revealed that in the original photo, Imran Khan is having lunch with his second wife, Reham Khan. And Modi's doctored image is from a 2013 lunch meet with journalists. And no, he wasn't wearing a green skull cap.

In other fake news, the Bombay Stock Exchange supposedly flashed “Don't vote for Modi”. The picture is accompanied by the caption “Mumbai ke share bazaar ne bhi ab likh diya. Don’t vote for Modi. Zoom karo aur dekho”.

The doctored image is one of the many attempts to further political agenda through fake news. Beware!

General (Election) Medicine

This month's fake news hero, for NO fault of his own, is Congress MLA Anil Upadhyay. His name has been dragged into videos that range from 'Supporting Modi' to booth-capturing in West Bengal. The videos would go viral with typical captions like; “कोंग्रेस विधायक अनिल उपाध्याय की  इस हरकत पर क्या कहेगे राहुल जी! "

Dr Webqoof ke videos dekhne ko kahenge. Aur kya kahenge?

On 19 February, Hardik Patel was slapped. Even as a fake doctor, I can tell you for sure that it hurt. Anyway, soon after, a viral post claimed that the attack on Hardik Patel was scripted by the Congress. The post juxtaposed a picture of the attacker slapping Patel with a picture of Rahul Gandhi purportedly with the same attacker.

It went viral. First on WhatsApp, and then on Facebook. From a single user's post alone, it was shared over 1,200 times! Team Webqoof did a reverse image search and found that the original image was from Dec 2017 and it was of a different person.

The trend this election season has typically been to associate or link the member of one party to an opposing party. Don’t fall for it.

Voting-Related Fake News

Here are some pressing questions on voting that needed answers, but got conspiracy theories instead.

Will EVMs Not Be Used in Places With More Than 100 Candidates?

YES, said fake news theorists, who spread this false news on Facebook, and especially on Twitter. The message then went on to urge people to help nominate more candidates so as to use ballot papers and “save democracy.”
This viral claim is false. The spokesperson of the Election Commission of India Sheyphali Sharan took to Twitter to clarify the matter. According to her, the latest EVMs can accommodate up to 384 candidates.

Inoculate yourselves against the onslaught of fake news. And before your forward something, step back, make sure it’s based on facts. You’ll thank yourself later.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9910181818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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