TikTok : Herbal cures for coronavirus infection, communal content, audio clips declaring national emergency are a few examples of rampant circulation of fake news and misinformation on social media platforms, sparking panic amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Directed by filmmaker Anurag Basu, the film opens with celebrities Virat Kohli, Kriti Sanon, Ayushmann Khurrana, and Sara Ali Khan talking about how dangerous the virus is and how easily it can spread. As the video progresses, it is revealed that they are talking about misinformation and fake news which often pushes people into making ill-informed choices, eroding trust and impacting communities.
TikTok’s public service announcement #MatKarForward aims to help raise awareness among the digital community around the creation and sharing of misinformation.
Nikhil Gandhi, India’s head, TikTok said, “Spread of misinformation is an industry-wide concern and a shared responsibility…we continue to take proactive steps to prioritize the safety and well-being of our communities. #MatKarForward is part of our ongoing initiatives to raise awareness around the spread of misinformation and to maintain a safe and positive environment for our users.”
Immensely popular across the country, TikTok has been under pressure by the government to create a safer environment and stringent measures to fight fake news and misinformation on its platform. It has appointed a grievance officer apart from taking down hundreds of misinformation videos from its platform.
Recently, to fight the menace of misinformation, it had introduced a ‘Misleading Information‘ category along with a COVID-19 sub-category, within the in-app reporting feature. Last year, a similar awareness campaign called
was launched, urging users to pause and think before sharing anything online.
The platform also said that users can participate by pledging support to this initiative by sharing videos with a specially created and animated in-app #MatKarForward sticker.
Basu said, “Today, we have a bigger responsibility than ever before to prevent the spread of misinformation. We all have the power to share the right information by evaluating the information we have at hand…I hope this is an awakening for everyone of how our actions can affect others today and every day.”