It does not take long for any fake message to go viral on the social media platform. In the last few months, WhatsApp, the world’s most popular instant messaging app, has added many features via updates to prevent fake news and messages on its platform. There is no data available about how successful WhatsApp has been in stopping fake news, but WhatsApp itself has become a victim of fake messages.
There is a fake message that is being extensively distributed on WhatsApp and Facebook, that Mumbai has a threat of terrorist attack. If you are active users of these platforms, you must have come across this forwarded message with a video of a man who is warning people not to go out of the house. The video is being circulated along with the information which explains the person as, “Mumbai Police Commissioner: Mumbai is under the threat of terrorist attack. Please be careful. All railway stations. All bars and cinema halls. Auditoriums. All public places. Please forward to all groups. Jay Hind. Jay Maharashtra. Stay at home for a few days”.
The man in the video alleges that 19 cities in India are under the threat of a possible terror attack planned by Pakistan’s terrorist organization ISI, and goes on to request residents in India to be careful and vigilant. Nevertheless, several fact-checkers claimed that the man in the viral video does not match to Mumbai’s Police Commissioner, Sanjay Barve. Hence, this is completely a fake news/message which is just to spread panic among people living in Mumbai and other cities.
Other Fact-checkers identified the person in the video as Brigadier Hemant Mahajan (retd.), who usually produces and distributes videos through WhatsApp, where he says on various defense and security-related topics. As per the sources, the viral man is Brigadier (Retd) Hemant Mahajan, a retired Defence official who now lives in Pune. As fake WhatsApp forwards lead to multiple serious issues, the instant messaging app restricted the forwarding of a message in India earlier this year.
In India, fake WhatsApp messages are on a rise, because of this people are getting into serious trouble like mob lynching and arrests. People need to be aware of what to share and have to be careful while using social media.