The people were asked whether they wanted to take Britain out of the European Union Some politicians supported it, some were against it We can refer to the politicians who supported this as the “Leave group” They wanted to make Britain leave the European Union The ones who were against it can be referred to as the “Remain group” When this referendum was conducted, the politicians of the Leave group had spread massive propaganda on Facebook They fooled the people by spreading fake news The name of Cambridge Analytica too came to the forefront in this regard What the Cambridge Analytica had done was to collect the data of the people using Facebook They observed the likes and dislikes of the people to find out which type of people like which things and what is their thought process
Then, on that basis, they showed personalized ads to such people to convince them that Britain should leave the European Union, For example, this was a popular ad on Facebook but it was not shown to everybody in the UK This ad was only shown to people for whom Immigration was an important issue which they found out by collecting the data, For example, the people of the old age group that are a little wary of the foreigners They were shown that 76 million people of Turkey were given visa-free travel by the European Union so all these foreigners might come and settle in the UK The truth was that this was entirely fake news.
Turkey isn’t even a part of the European Union and neither was Turkey granted visa-free travel by the European Union Similarly, the Left-wing people, who consider health as an important issue, we’re shown this ad We’re giving away 350 million pounds every week for staying in the European Union Our country is being harmed by this Vote to leave The truth was that there was no proper account of this money, In reality, Britain too receives a lot of money from the European Union and overall, the economy of Britain benefits The people who cared about the environment were shown this ad that they were not able to protect the polar bears because they were a part of the European Union There was no coherent sense to this ad. it was completely illogical Similarly, what were the ads shown to the youngsters? That the European Union was about to put a quota upon Netflix and other streaming services
The European Union was set to regulate taxi services like Ola and Uber Hence they were asked to vote to Exit All these ads proved to be effective when it was found out that the majority in the referendum voted to leave Later, the scandal of Cambridge Analytica was revealed and we got to know all this Facebook displayed all the ads that were used during the campaigning for the referendum How can we stay safe from this? The first step is that you should give out the least possible amount of personal data You should also display your likes and dislikes to Facebook in the least possible amount So that it shows the least amount of personalized ads Secondly, you should also be aware of these things Now that I’ve told you this, you know that such things do happen So stay alert regarding this in the future
Next, let us move towards Brazil Brazil and India have a lot of similarities Just like in India, Whatsapp is a very popular app in Brazil The population of Brazil is around 210 million Out of this, 120 million people use Whatsapp In the elections conducted in 2018, a new President named Bolsonaro was elected In the last week of election campaigning, a Brazilian newspaper published a potent investigative report in which it was found that some companies that were supporting Bolsonaro had spent 3 million dollars in the election campaigning to fund 4 digital agencies the digital agencies that were responsible for spreading fake news on Whatsapp One of these was a digital strategy company that illegally collected Whatsapp numbers of the people on which the fake news was circulated via Whatsapp Look at the examples of this Opposition leaders were photoshopped in pictures with old Communist leaders to show that the Opposition supports Communism Look at another example
This photo was shared by Bolsonaro himself on his twitter account You a see in this photo that some people are standing with guns and a placard is placed in the middle that calls out a death threat to Bolsonaro In reality, this is a photoshopped picture and the placard with the death threat does not exist in the real picture Now Bolsonaro shared this to show that he was being sent multiple death threats People want to kill him because he has set out to save the country Sounds similar, right? Research has found out that the top 50 most popular photos that had gone viral on Whatsapp during the election campaigning in Brazil Out of them, only 4 photos were real And when the news was made public of how fake news was circulated and how 3 million dollars were spent in the elections
The journalist Patricia Campos Mello started getting death threats and online trolls started to abuse her and the newspaper that had published this news Bolsonaro stated that the funding of this newspaper would be cut and no further ads would be given to it, By the way, I’d like to tell you that Bolsonaro is an extreme right-wing leader He has (issued) huge statements against women and the LGBT community, In fact, Bolsonaro is indirectly blamed for the Amazon forest fire in Brazil Under his government, as soon as he became President, Amazon fires increased two times in comparison to the last year And when he was asked what he was doing to put out the Amazon fire.
He replied- Firstly, we can’t do anything He took a long time to react against the Amazon fires At one point of time, Bolsonaro was also blaming the NGOs for starting a fire in the Amazon The solution to save yourself from such things is pretty simple Just do not blindly believe the memes and photos that you see on Whatsapp Google reverse image search it once. Or stay subscribed to websites like AltNews They come up with latest updates of the photoshops and fake news prevalent in the market
Hong Kong Protests
Let us examine Hong Kong in our third segment There have been ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong The Chinese government wants to thrust its laws upon Hong Kong, against which, the people have been protesting Initially, at the beginning of these protests, the Chinese government had put a blanket ban upon these protests No one was allowed to talk about these protests on the Chinese social media But what happened was that the protests began to swell Hong Kong protesters began garnering support from the rest of the world
The rest of the countries began supporting these protesters Then the Chinese government then realized that it was not okay to impose a complete ban Then the Chinese government started to spread its own propaganda The Media channels belonging to the Chinese government, both inside the country as well as outside it, They started to circulate the news that the Hong Kong protesters were violent (and that they are) terrorists and anti-national. Also that they are being manipulated by the Western countries That are, they are being funded from them to carry out protests
Thousands of fake accounts on Twitter and Facebook were made by the Chinese government trolls who then started to spread the news of how violent and radical the Hong Kong protesters were As you can see in the photo, they were compared to cockroaches Their sold-out media began to make cartoons showcasing how the Hong Kong protesters were making fun of the Chinese people they were making fun of their nation and hence they are Anti-national You can observe the flags of UK and USA in the background (This was done to) show that the protesters were being funded by the western powers China started to circulate such propaganda posters on its social media- “