Bengaluru: To equip social media users and influencers with tools to verify and corroborate content and analyse sources, the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) and Facebook played host to a masterclass session in the city.
The special session for the students and faculty of the institute offered an insight into how social media has led to a new trend among consumers to use information without proper verification, causing problems at various levels.
Mr Eoghan Sweeny, Global Training Director, First Draft News, who led the session, said that the desire to believe content online makes users to share them, often in haste. The example of the Pakistani public service announcement video on child safety being wrongly circulated in India leading to several lynching incidents was cited to explain the adversities of sharing unverified content. “In journalism, everything has to be verified. If your mother says she loves you, go ahead and verify,” he said. First Draft is a project of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, which uses research-based methods to fight misinformation and disinformation online.
Mr Sweeny demonstrated how images, videos and other information can be checked for genuineness, emphasising that such tools are easily available and help users debunk misinformation.
The organisers said that the session was relevant as digital verification will be an important tool in the arsenal of media professionals in the future. Such sessions help budding and working journalists to have a sceptical approach towards information available online. “There is a whole spread of misinformation happening over the cyber space and it is essential to have exposure to a series of tools that can be used to verify content online,” said Ms Kanchan Kaur, Dean, IIJNM.
The special training session was held as part of the Facebook Journalism Project, collaborating with news organisations to establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry. Facebook claims to develop products and work with publishers and educators on how to equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age....