India’s Fake News Epidemic

A new report from The Atlantic details an epidemic of "fake news" now plaguing India as it gears up for an upcoming national election, with a critical difference from stories of Russian interference in European and US elections: This problem is based at home.

Indian political parties have reportedly created elaborate operations to spread false and malicious stories aimed at political rivals, critics, and even religious minorities.

The damage has been dramatic; carefully crafted rumors that play on existing fears and prejudices have reportedly contributed to the lynching deaths of more than two dozen victims.

The troubling trend: There is nothing uniquely Indian, of course, about organized misinformation campaigns or public appetite for ugly rumors that confirm prejudices. Indonesia President Joko Widodo is now making campaign appearances via hologram in part to refute fake news stories in front of as many people as possible ahead of an upcoming election there later this month. "I assure you it's all slander, lies. Don't believe it," his hologram pleas.

The bottom line: If this trend is taking hold in India and Indonesia, you can be sure it's going to be a problem all over the world. Here are some recent African examples. Prepare for upcoming stories about digital-age dirty tricks in every country that holds elections—and new ideas on how to guard against them.

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Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

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January 27 marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi extermination camp. But even as some 40 heads of state gathered in Jerusalem this week to commemorate the six million Jews who were killed, a recent Pew survey revealed that many American adults don't know basic facts about the ethnic cleansing of Europe's Jews during the Second World War. Fewer than half of those polled knew how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and close to a third didn't know when it actually happened. Here's a look at some of the numbers.

1: The Greek parliament has elected a woman president for the first time since the country's independence some 200 years ago. A political outsider, Katerina Sakellaropoulou is a high court judge with no known party affiliation. "Our country enters the third decade of the 21st century with more optimism," Greece's prime minister said.

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A quarantine in China– Local authorities have locked down the city of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak of a new and potentially deadly respiratory virus that, as of Thursday morning, had infected more than 540 people in at least six countries. Other nearby cities were also hit by travel restrictions. Rail and air traffic out of Wuhan has been halted. Public transportation is shut, and local officials are urging everyone to stay put unless they have a special need to travel. Wuhan is a city of 11 million people, many of whom were about to travel for the Chinese New Year. We're watching to see whether these extraordinary measures help stem the outbreak, but also to see how the people affected respond to the clampdown.

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