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This publication by the Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) tries to understand the chronology of events that started rumours, fake news and misinformation about COVID-19 that eventually managed to spread across communities. It highlights the conditions that provide a fertile ground for rumours and the role that social media and word of mouth play in giving them unprecedented speed and reach.

Rumours and fake news are social behaviour exhibited by people and fuelled by television news channels which provide the necessary impetus for rumours to take off. Social media is the laboratory where fake news and rumours are incubated. Certain sections of the society are ready consumers of these rumours and fake news that often culminate in violence, putting social amity into danger while authorities remains mute spectators of these social nightmares.

Download the publication here.