Unless you have been living under a rock (and God knows that’s totally understandable these days), I am sure you are more than familiar with the prevalence of fake WhatsApp forwards in India. If all these fake messages did was annoy or spam us, we could learn to live with them. Sadly, that isn’t the case.
In India, fake WhatsApp messages have been responsible for communal polarization, hate speech, vicious rumors, mob lynching, and even murder.
A quick Google search shows countless articles from both Indian and international publications about the widespread hate and violence caused by these messages. There’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated solely to ‘Indian WhatsApp lynchings’. Which brings me to my next point – these lynchings aren’t new, they go back as far as 2015. Worse, despite fake news and rumors, WhatsApp is India’s most preferred social media app to date. It’s safe to say that the influence of WhatsApp and fake news isn’t going to lessen over time and the consequences will remain severe.
Keeping the increasing prevalence of fake news in mind, Lava Mobiles recently launched its Republic Day campaign #SendItBack.
The hard-hitting video highlights the ongoing menace of fake forwarded messages that create panic and fuel acts of violence. It urges all mobile phone users in the country to pause, think and send the ‘Back’ emoji to verify the authenticity of a forwarded message before sharing it with anyone else.
Speaking about this special initiative, Mugdh Rajit, Marketing, S&D Strategy Head, LAVA said, “The menace of fake news is growing by leaps and bounds. Given the fact that India has the world’s second-largest number of mobile phone users, it is crucial for us to curb fake rumors from spreading. LAVA is a Proudly Indian brand and we believe that it is our responsibility to contribute to society. With the #SendItBack initiative, we intend to spark off a movement against fake forwards so that social media does not become a tool for perpetrators of violence. We envision this movement to go beyond the boundaries of the brand, wherein the public will fight this social issue in unison.”
The basic objective of #SendItBack is to promote a behavior change in people by urging them to use social media responsibly.
Conceptualized and executed by 82.5 Communications, the campaign has been rolled out across various digital platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. Even if you are not someone who blindly forwards WhatsApp messages, Chandana Agarwal, President North, 82.5 Communications explains why this campaign is relevant for every Indian.
“Lava has been running the Proudly Indian Campaign for a year and a half. It always picks up messages that are relevant and makes one rethink patriotism. With a handset in every hand, it is the responsibility of every Indian to fight fake news. This campaign is an important step towards making people aware of this duty.”
And honestly, if this isn’t the easiest way to educate that annoying person who loves to spam you with
weird conspiracy theories and religious misinformation, what is?
Here’s hoping that #SendItBack helps put an end to us mindlessly forwarding WhatsApp messages without verifying their credibility.