A rumour that started on Whatsapp travelled to Facebook. From Facebook, it travelled to a right-wing fake news website. The right-wing fake news website created a nice infographic of the original rumour. They also put a picture next to it. Once you have a piece of text and a picture together, it becomes the ultimate form of truth irrespective of the facts of the case. The infographic and the website started going viral independently. Another fake news website picked up the ‘news’. One of the chosen 1700 odd people whom PM Modi follows on Twitter tagged the person who was the target of the rumour and repeated the contents of the rumour. And that is how News Laundry’s Madhu Trehan found out that she’s not only a leftist but she also has an issue with Baahubali film now having any Muslim characters.
The image above is that of a Twitter handle called YesIAmSaffron, who is followed by PM Modi, and is spreading the rumour about Madhu Trehan. We had recently exposed how this same Twitter handle misuses pictures of women for political propaganda. Madhu Trehan in her tweet clarified that the words that were being attributed to her were not hers. She also questioned YesIamSaffron as to how could he use her picture and circulate a rumour.
However, the picture bit was not the handiwork of YesIAmSaffron. That infographic was originally created by a website called DainikBharat and is now being spread with much enthusiasm by many right-wingers on different forms of social media. We have previously written about Dainik Bharat spreading fake news on at least two occasions (go.altnews.in/2qsyoG2 and go.altnews.in/2qt2w4s).
At the time of writing, this Dainik Bharat post regarding Madhu Trehan has been liked/shared 22,449 times on Facebook and that figure is increasing fast. Another fake news site that regurgitated the same rumour is IndianKhabar.in. At the time of writing, IndianKhabar.in’s post has been liked/shared 3000 times.
However, neither of the two aforementioned websites were the originators of the rumour. Dainik Bharat’s post is timestamped as 2:17 pm., May 1st. The rumour was already viral on social media on April 30th.
The nature of these posts with unrelated people on Facebook having identical status updates suggests that all of them picked it from WhatSapp where the rumour must have been originally circulated. The first public post on Facebook regarding this was by one Vishwakarma Gyan.
वामपंथी लेखक मधु त्रेहन बोल रहे है कि बाहुबली में कोई मुस्लिम कैरेक्टर काहे नहीं है !!!
ये वही लोग है , जो अपने मम्मी पापा की शादी का एल्बम देखकर पूछते है कि इसमें मैं क्यों नहीं हूँ !!!
Leftist writer Madhu Trehan has raised an issue that Baahubal has no Muslim characters.
These are the same people who ask their parents as to why they aren’t present in their parent’s wedding albums.
If we continue to ignore these websites that are running an organised racket of fake news, this cancer will only grow. Their express purpose is of defemation, personal vilification, spreading rumours with the intention of causing communal discord and more. People need to start taking legal action against these websites or the list of victims will keep growing.