Deccan Chronicle

Kota's fake death news exposes social media's ugly side

Deccan Chronicle.| Sanjay Samuel Paul

Published on: March 21, 2023 | Updated on: March 21, 2023
Kota Srinivasa Rao. (File Photo: DC)

Kota Srinivasa Rao. (File Photo: DC)

Hyderabad: Fake death news is not only annoying, it's also often cruel and heart breaking for family members and well-wishers. Seventy-five-year-old Kota Srinivasa Rao, known for his abilities to play both the bad guy, cameo and character roles, became the latest victim of fake news when social media reports claimed he died on Tuesday sparking worry and anxiety among his family, admirers, and well-wishers.

Several social media outlets aired bogus reports that the actor had died, prompting an outpouring of grief, with the veteran actor's loved ones thronging his residence to pay their last respects. While they were horrified by the phony news, when they arrived at his house, they breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing the actor hale and hearty.

Kota, as he is affectionately known, began his acting career in theatre and then debuted in the world of celluloid with Pranam Khareedu, and went on to play many characters in at least five languages, including Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, and Malayalam, and in approximately 200 films.

Kota posted a video declaring he was alive shortly after the phony news went viral. "Some social media news broadcast that I had died, as I woke up and we were busy in preparations for the Ugadi festival, from 7 am onwards, we were flooded with phone calls. Police beefed up security because fans will show up in large numbers. Police should take action on such social media news channels and websites, and people should avoid such mediums, which have the lowest standards; such news may claim the lives of the elderly by shock. I urge people to avoid such news mediums that disseminate false information," he stated.

Meanwhile, senior actress Hema lodged a complaint at Hyderabad cybercrime station against YouTube channels for disseminating false news.

The fake news of Kota’s death highlights social media’s ugly face as well as how they thrive on manufacturing and spawning hoax news. Fake rumors about the actor drove him to depression, and the city police arrived at his residence as a large number of Kota’s fans showed up to pay their tributes to the actor.

However, this was not the first time that social media platforms spread fake news about the deaths of movie stars and celebrities. Several actors were victims of fake news broadcast by social media news channels and websites in order to enhance their "hits" and subscriptions.

In the past, Chandramohan, M.S. Narayana, late Venu Madhav, and numerous character artists were victims of social media’s hoax news.

Telugu cinema journalist association general secretary Y.J. Rambabu remarked that they would submit a representation to the police department to stop such fake reporting.   "Many celebrities and actresses are trolled to obtain more views. These social media outlets do not verify before posting videos or news," he stated.

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