Eight people are combating the fake news issue in a country with 1.3 billion people, Pratik Sinha, co-founder, Alt News

Pratik Sinha, in partnership with the administrator of the ‘Unofficial Subramanian Swamy’ Facebook page (also co-founder of Alt News) and another anonymous contributor 'Sam Jawed,’ fight fake news propaganda online.

by Nishant Saxena
Published - Sep 27, 2017 8:14 AM Updated: Sep 27, 2017 8:14 AM

“In total there are eight people handling the fake news issue in a country with 1.3 billion people,” says Pratik Sinha, co-founder of Alt News, a fact-checking website.

At a time when people are making huge profits by selling fake news on social media, a few good men have taken it upon themselves to bring truth to people and bust fake propagandists.

Pratik Sinha, in partnership with the administrator of the ‘Unofficial Subramanian Swamy’ Facebook page (also co-founder of Alt News) and another anonymous contributor 'Sam Jawed,’ fight fake news propaganda online.

"We probably did more detailed stories and were more critical of the government. Maybe because there is a vacuum and very few people are doing it. This is why we have got the media attention and not because of any miracle,” he said when asked about the quick growth of Alt News which was launched on February 9, 2017.

The platform currently has more than 55,000 fans on Facebook, 28,000 followers on Twitter and over 5,000 subscribers on YouTube.

The Future of Fact-Checking Websites
“It is sad that more people are not doing it. Fake news has become a major issue and it needs participation from bigger organisations and mainstream media,” he said.

Presently, in India, there are two other major platforms that combat fake news: SM Hoax Slayer and Boom Live.

In July, some media entrepreneurs including Sinha were invited for Google News Lab Asia-Pacific Summit 2017 in Singapore, where Sinha stated, “We learnt about a model that’s working in Hong Kong. Four fact-checkers sit right in the middle of the newsroom and fact-check all the breaking news in real time.”

“Fact-checking has to be an inherent part of journalism. There is enough opportunity, as journalists can only fact-check what they are putting out. There have been instances where Alt News has caught mainstream media putting out news which is not factual. That needs to be prevented and that is why they need a dedicated team that is constantly fact-checking,” he added.

Sinha who has also launched the Hindi version of Alt News for better audience reach, further added, “I would be really happy if I don’t have to fact-check mainstream media that puts out biased propaganda but social media fact-checking will always remain. So, there will be independent fact-checking bodies like Alt News.”

Fact-checking the fact-checkers
“A fact-check is simply if something said is true/false or partially true/partially false. Anyone can be a fact-checker; people have already started fact-checking the fact-checkers,” said Sinha.

On the political bias of the fact-checkers obstructing exposure of the truth, he said, “There could be some political bias but it doesn’t mean that you are incorrect. Moreover, everybody has to be held accountable, but not for political bias. People will talk about the bias and it will reduce the credibility of the fact-checker and we are all aware of it, but bias in not equivalent to incorrect fact.”

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
WhatsApp, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Stay updated with the latest news in the Marketing & Advertising sector with our daily newsletter

By clicking Sign Up, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.