People gather and exchange information based on their beliefs, attitudes and perceptions. People generally collect information from social media, traditional media, friends, acquaintances and relatives. Among these sources, the popularity and acceptance of social media as a credible source is quite high. At the same time, studies have revealed that unreliable information is being increasingly circulated on social media networks through anonymous nodes (human beings/machines). These social media networks also carry user generated information, their interpretations, video clips, messages and still images.
In these networks, the strength of trust might vary and the information becomes viral because of weak ties. This process of complex interaction has barriers, communication gaps, prejudiced thinking patterns, similarities and dissimilarities. This phenomenon gives rise to different sub networks n1, n2, n3…which are based on ideologies, thought the process and different mindsets. In cases of breaking news or viral news the size of these sub networks grows very fast and flow of information between nodes also becomes speedier. Fake news is threating the entire institution of objective and credible journalism.
Fake news going viral through social networks may cause unrest and threaten the whole fabric of peace and secularism in our country. This chapter attempts to analyse how a news becomes viral through mobile networks and why does it becomes viral. It further attempts to elaborate the way humans process the information being sent and received on social networks and through applications like WhatsApp. The chapter uses Heuristics Systematic Model (HSM) and Social network approach to explain the ways news flows through networks and the way social media users interpret it. The chapter concludes by offering alternatives which can control the dissemination of fake news and stop it from going viral.
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