The sheer scale of disinformation on social media platforms is harming youths in India with no serious efforts shown by companies to combat the menace, says a new report.The report titled Politics of Disinformation, released on Thursday by the Delhi-based non-profit Future of India Foundation, follows discussions with youths in eight states to understand their social media habits and the impact of harmful content and misinformation on them. Seventy per cent of India’s internet users are aged below 35. They are 65 per cent of its population.
Public discourse, which is the entry point for youths in politics and democracy, has been marred by disinformation, said Ruchi Gupta, co-founder and director of Future of India Foundation that works at the intersection of youth issues, politics and technology.
The discussions with youths were centred on Covid-19. In one instance, a youth in Rajasthan revealed that he stopped buying fruits from a vendor while admitting that he may have accepted misinformation on how the disease spreads, said Saurabh Sharma, founder of the non-profit Josh that works with youths on issues of transparency and accountability.