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I expect most of you, if not all, saw this post on WhatsApp about how and why fake news spreads faster than real news. For those who didn’t here it is.

This is a ten plus year MIT study which comes up with many surprising findings one of which is: “A surprising twist in the study was that bots spread fake news at the same rate as true news, suggesting, “False news spreads more than the truth because humans, not robots, are more likely to spread it.”

What does fake news do?

It results in violence, hatred, death, destruction of property and disruption of lives. Perhaps one day, your own. Self-interest seems to be the only effective deterrent today in a world that seems to be free of any sense of community, responsibility, compassion or accountability. So be it. Think of yourself at the end of the fake news, if that is what it takes to prevent you from spreading fake news. All it takes is one click. All it takes to do the opposite is not to do that one click.

What must you do when you receive stuff that people ask you to forward?

  1. Simply use your head. Look at the fake news below, which I am sure you have all seen; the so-called anti-corruption drive with a list of names of all those who allegedly have money hidden in Swiss banks.

Then read the passionate appeal at the end and ask if the person writing this can do simple math. The US, at last count, was a $13 trillion economy. How then can $1.3 trillion, if brought back from Swiss banks, make India ten times bigger than the US? So, the real question is not whether the one who posted this nonsense knows math but whether, you, Mr/Mrs/Ms Forwarder, do?

Take another one about the construction of a mosque in a football stadium. Sounds like a nice cosy, cuddly story of love and mutual respect and would have been if it were true. Here is the story:

And here is my simple investigation:

The mosque mentioned is a Turkish mosque in Germany and not in the Allianz area. This is the mosque:

No mention of any mosque on the official website of the club. See for yourself.

  1. Verify the fake news. It is quite easy. Go to and type in your fake news or read their archives and you will discover whether it is true or false. Microsoft is not giving away free computers, Ericsson is not giving away free phones and NASA didn’t announce that the sun has risen in the West. To verify videos please go to
  2. Mindless fans of Justin Beiber are called ‘Beliebers’. Really. Mindless forwarders of fake news, what shall we call them? ‘Believers’: those who believe without thinking.

  1. And finally, the easiest thing to do; DO NOTHING. Hit ‘Delete’. And use the baseball rules: 3 strikes is OUT. In this case, anyone who sends you fake news thrice, block him, ban him and delete him from your address book.
  2. For those who still want to continue to forward fake news imagining that writing, ‘AS RECEIVED’ saves you, please wake up and stop smoking whatever keeps you in your haze of fantasy; it doesn’t. Not in this life or the next. In this life, forwarding fake stuff can land you in jail. In the next life you will be called to account for having forwarded stuff that led to all kinds of pain and suffering for others. You read it, you decided to forward it, so you are RESPONSIBLE. It is as simple as that.

Mirza Yawar Baig is based in Hyderabad, India and is the founder and President of Yawar Baig & Associates; an international leadership consulting organization. He can be reached at


  1. Sally Dugman says:

    Another place to check whether something is false or not is – Wikipedia is a nonprofit non-partisan website that describes itself as a “consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics”. It is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and is funded …

    Some people are often delusional and have bias. So they tend to believe in the verity of the news that suit their viewpoints and not believe news (even when factually based) that don’t do so. They just don’t like the truth even when it stares them in the face.

    People Choose News That Fits Their Views – Live Science › Culture
    Jun 7, 2009 – Previous studies have asked people about their news reading habits and broad political beliefs, such as liberal or conservative. … Such readers may prefer blogs over mainstream media sources because they suspect bias in the latter, said Richard Davis, a political scientist at Brigham Young University in …

    Liberal News Media Bias Has a Serious Effect –…in…news…/liberal-news-media-bias-has-a-serious-effect
    Dec 21, 2015 – This breeds the perception that the mainstream media is out to get conservatives, and this perception has truly harmful consequences. The most … Dr. Carson has portrayed the recent news media scrutiny of him as a witch hunt, and (especially when some of it is unfair) conservative voters believe him.

    The bias runs so big that some people don’t even mind that Donald Trump has almost twenty women accusing him of sexual misconduct. They don’t even care that he lies or acts reckless.So it goes when Donald spouts fake information, himself!

    President Trump’s first six months: The fact-check tally – Washington Post…/fact-checker/…/president-trumps-first-six-months-th…
    In six months, President Trump has made 836 false or misleading claims. Often, he has said the same false thing over and over again.

  2. The principle of Gresham’s law to news too: fake news drives out good!

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