Monday, June 17, 2024
Monday, June 17, 2024

HomeFact CheckViralWeekly Wrap: Misinformation Around PM’s US Visit, Titan Submersible And More

Weekly Wrap: Misinformation Around PM’s US Visit, Titan Submersible And More

Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

With yet another eventful week passing by, fact checkers at Newschecker have been busy tracking, debunking and calling out instances of misinformation online. While PM’s US visit to participate in the Yoga day celebrations at UN, followed by an address to the US congress, and a high profile dinner, triggered intense debate and commentary on social media, the reports of continuing clashes and violence in Manipur triggered a round of blame game between members of the ruling party and the opposition. Add to this the disappearance and the subsequent death of five adventure tourists aboard the Titan submersible, near the location of the Titanic wreckage in the northern Atlantic, and Newschecker had its work cut out.

Amidst Social Media Frenzy Over PM’s US visit, Misinformation Seeps In

Even as the violence continued in Manipur and major Opposition parties decided to group together in Patna, Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a 4 day trip to the US, with the itinerary starting with the Yoga day celebrations in New York, followed by various other programs in Washington. The visit garnered much traction on Indian social media, with users hailing Modi’s diplomatic manoeuvering, strengthening India’s role as a valuable partner for the US. But amidst the posts that praised the visit or criticised it, many instances of misleading and false claims were found. Like these images allegedly showing protests ahead of the PM’s visit, was found to be old and unrelated to the PM’s recent visit. Another video, of an audience allegedly abusing the Prime Minister, purportedly during a diaspora outreach was also found to be old, from the PM’s past visit for the ‘Howdy Modi’ event. 

There were more claims in this theme. Another video of protests from 2019, during the PM’s UNGA visit after the abrogation of the Article 370, was falsely linked to the current context. An edited image showing the PM seated on stage with Rihanna, purportedly taking a peek at the Barbadian singer, was also among the many claims regarding the PM’s US visit that went viral.

An old news item, of MEA S Jaishnakar allegedly cancelling a meeting with US lawmakers over the attendance of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, also resurfaced with many sharing the news in current context.

The Missing Submersible That Triggered Meme Fest And Misinformation

The reports of the submersible Titan, which was ferrying five adventure tourists including a British billionaire to the wreckage of the ill-fated Titanic, losing contact with the mothership in deep north atlantic waters caught the attention of internet users for obvious reasons. After a search that panned over four days, the submersible was believed to have imploded, after search teams found a debris field close to the wreckage of the Titanic. As the reports of the discovery of the debris field found its way to the social media, so did old and unrelated images, claiming to show the wreckage of the submersible. One such image that was widely shared turned out to be a 2004 photograph of the Titanic wreckage. Another image, that was widely shared with the same claim, was found to have been made with help of an artificial intelligence tool. 

Meanwhile, many users also shared a meme showing a play station controller that purportedly survived the implosion, believing it to be true. 

And even as the missing submersible carrying five adventure tourists dominated headlines, the news of another mishap in the sea, that of migrants traversing the Mediterranean in search of a better future, paled in terms of coverage and attention from the mainstream media. Many users, including media houses, shared a 2016 image showing a boat capsizing off the Libyan coast, linking it to the recent accident.

False Narrative On Odisha Train Tragedy Continues

Last week, Newschecker debunked a viral claim, which alleged that the station master of the Balasore station, who was identified as one ‘Mohammad Sharif’ was absconding after the train tragedy. The South Eastern Railway CPRO had again clarified that no staff of the Bahanaga Bazar Railway Station staff was absconding or missing, and that everyone was cooperating in the investigation into the Odisha triple-train accident. However, the claim has resurfaced with a new twist. 

A disturbing video of a person brutally assaulting a naked man lying on the floor with his hands cuffed behind him, was being widely shared online, with multiple social media users linking it to the June 2 Odisha triple-train accident. Those sharing the video alleged that the  “main accused” of the Balasore train mishap, Station Master Sharif, who was allegedly hiding in a West Bengal Madrasa, has been arrested by the CBI. Newschecker found that the footage predates the Odisha train accident, and has been used to further build on the false narrative of the absconding station master of Bahanaga Bazar Railway Station, Sharif.

Video From Myanmar Shared As Manipur

As reports of violence in Manipur continue, a disturbing video of a group of men, brutally assaulting a woman in the middle of the road, and filming the incident is being circulated on social media platforms, with users linking it to the ongoing violence in the state. Those sharing the footage alleged that armed citizens tortured and eventually shot dead a “Kuki Christian woman.” But our investigation revealed that the video is from Myanmar and has been falsely linked to Manipur.


If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044 or email us at checkthis@newschecker.in. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form.

Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular