They want to create fake news awareness amongst citizens, to educate them about what it is, how it is spread and how it can be spotted.
In a tweet from 25 June, Rajasthan Police announced that they will be starting a series on #FakeNews, and urged people to be wary of "news, stories or hoaxes which mislead you into believing the facts which are not true" and that "often social media become easy carriers for spreading falsehood & distortion."
Starting a series on #FakeNews. Please follow these tiny yet significant tips.
What's fake news? It is news, stories or hoaxes which mislead you into believing the facts which are not true. Often #SocialMedia become easy carriers for spreading falsehood & distortion@SMHoaxSlayer pic.twitter.com/m77DKYeCzN
— Rajasthan Police (@PoliceRajasthan) June 25, 2018
The tweet mentions Social Media Hoax Slayer, but we do not know if this is a combined effort by the two. Social Media Hoax Slayer has reportedly busted 1,300 fake forwards on WhatsApp.
The tweet further gives users tips on how to spot fake news by urging citizens to check if the source is credible, to read beyond the headline, to check the author, to check the date of the story and finally to consult experts before forming an opinion or taking any decision.
This step by the Rajasthan Police could possibly be a response to a fake news that circulated in the name of Rajasthan Police on various social media platforms. The news that circulated was a notice urging residents to stay wary of medical students offering free blood tests because they belong to some terrorist groups.
The Rajasthan Police wasn't happy about this and tweeted to clarify that no such notice was issued by them.
#Fake news is circulated in the name of #RajasthanPolice on various social media platforms. We completely deny having issued any such advisory. Please be vigilant & rely on news circulated only by our official Twitter/FB handle @PoliceRajasthan In case of any doubt dial#100 pic.twitter.com/E7SpUN4pcT — Rajasthan Police (@PoliceRajasthan) June 23, 2018
Fake news in India is a serious issue and has, on many occasions, led to the loss of lives. An investigation by BBC revealed that the death of Kaluram Bachanram, who was beaten to death by a mob in Bengaluru was due to WhatsApp rumours that convinced people that he was a child kidnapper.