Keep It Real
What Is Keep It Real?

#KeepItReal is an initiative that envisages to curb the menace of Fake News and Misinformation. As India approaches its national elections in 2024 make the #KeepItReal effort is all the more important. Distorting public opinion, manipulating voter behaviour, and undermining the political process are all ways in which false information presents a serious danger to the stability of our democratic system. The goal of the #KeepItReal campaign is to prevent citizens from being misled by spreading false information by encouraging them to think critically and share only credible sources. Through this effort, we hope to ensure that all individuals have access to accurate information and are given the tools they need to actively engage in the election process, upholding the core values of democracy: openness, equality, and informed choice.

The idea behind the movement known as #KeepItReal is to combat the ever-increasing problem of misinformation and fake news by bringing people together to share their experiences and educate others.

How Fake News Impacts People?

It is crucial to encourage media literacy, critical thinking, and fact-checking as means to lessen the influence of false information. Combating the transmission and effect of erroneous information may be aided by encouraging individuals to check information from credible sources, cultivating a culture of skepticism, and promoting responsible sharing and consumption of information.

Misinformation During Elections Misinformation During Elections: According to a study conducted by the Centre for Media Studies, during the 2019 Indian general elections, social media platforms witnessed a surge in fake news and misinformation, with approximately 54% of the election-related misinformation being disseminated through Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.

Impact On Voter Behavior Impact On Voter Behavior: A research study published in the Journal of Political Marketing found that misinformation can significantly influence voter behavior in India. It revealed that exposure to misinformation can shape voters' attitudes, perceptions, and voting decisions, potentially swaying the outcome of elections.

Social Media Penetration Social Media Penetration: India has one of the largest social media user bases globally, with over 624 million internet users and around 624 million active social media users as of January 2021. The widespread use of social media platforms makes it essential to address the spread of misinformation and promote responsible online behavior.

Trust In Media Trust In Media: According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in media in India has been on a decline. Only 40% of Indians trust traditional media, while social media platforms are trusted by only 36% of the population. The erosion of trust underscores the need for initiatives like #KeepItReal to restore faith in accurate and reliable information sources.

Impact on Democracy Impact On Democracy: Misinformation can undermine the democratic process by sowing confusion, polarizing communities, and manipulating public opinion. It poses a significant threat to the fairness and integrity of elections, hindering citizens' ability to make informed choices and potentially leading to distorted outcomes that do not reflect the true will of the people.

What We Will Be Doing

Under this initiative, our aim is to connect with first time voters, for which we have three pillars of the program.

1. Research

In 2024, approximately 17.5 crore of the population will be young voters who will be voting for the first time. It is necessary to understand the ideologies of our young minds about Fake News and Misinformation. To carry this out, we will be conducting nationwide research, collaborating with schools, colleges, and Universities. We will share our research form and collect responses from young minds on their experiences with misinformation and fake news. The results of the study will help us put together the responses and present them to the responsible authorities.

To conduct this study, we will follow the steps below:
  • Identify Research Areas: Determine specific aspects of misinformation in India, such as its sources, dissemination patterns, and impact on society.
  • Form Partnerships: Collaborate with academic institutions, research organisations, fact checking organisations, and experts in the field of misinformation to conduct in-depth research.
  • Gather Data: Collect relevant data through surveys, expert interviews, and analysis of online platforms.
  • Analyse Findings: Interpret the collected data and identify trends, patterns, and insights related to misinformation in India.
  • Publish And Share Results: Disseminate your research findings through reports, articles, and presentations to raise awareness and contribute to the public discourse on misinformation.
We have created a form in regional languages to record responses of Citizens of India. Click here: ENGLISH, HINDI, TELUGU, PUNJABI, ODIYA, MARATHI and MALYALAM.

2. Workshops In Schools And Colleges

Workshops can educate students about the concept of media literacy, helping them understand how news and information are created, disseminated, and consumed. This process offers interactive activities that engage students actively in the learning process. Hands-on exercises, group discussions, and role-playing scenarios can help students understand the impact of fake news and misinformation on society and develop critical thinking skills. It can also help students become agents of change by providing them with the tools they need to properly navigate the digital world, analyse information critically, and make informed decisions. Therefore, we will be conducting a series of workshops with students pan-India to draw the importance of ethical responsibility and digital citizenship. Students will be encouraged to be responsible consumers and sharers of information, promoting accurate and reliable content while avoiding the spread of misinformation.

3. Awareness Campaign

In order to effectively counteract disinformation and false news, awareness programmes that address the underlying reasons (a lack of knowledge, critical thinking abilities, and information literacy) are needed. Campaigns are crucial in debunking false narratives and developing a more educated and responsible society because they raise awareness and equip individuals with the resources they need to do so. We will promote the campaign through various social media platforms, websites, blogs, and other channels to disseminate your messages. Engage influencers, organisations, and community leaders to amplify your campaign. We will also Track the reach and impact of your campaign using metrics like engagement, shares, and feedback. Make adjustments as needed to optimise effectiveness.

Our Work On Keep It Real

Social Media Matters has been diligently working to foster a culture of fact-checking in India. Our impactful research, including the "Don't Be a Fool" study conducted prior to the 2019 national election, along with our comprehensive survey on the spread of misinformation during the pandemic, have played a pivotal role in driving this crucial initiative forward.

In addition, we have been conducting capacity-building workshops across India and Bhutan, engaging school children, college students, and field reporters. These workshops serve as invaluable platforms for empowering participants with essential skills and knowledge, equipping them to navigate the challenges posed by misinformation in their respective domains.

As the countdown to the 2024 national elections commences, we are gearing up with renewed vigor, deploying a diverse range of methodologies to mitigate the harmful impact of misinformation. Our comprehensive approach aims to safeguard the integrity of the upcoming elections. In this endeavor, we are actively seeking support and collaboration from multiple organizations to collectively achieve our mission of combating misinformation and upholding the democratic process.

Our initiative will be implemented in close collaboration with esteemed organizations such as the Election Commission of India, MEITY, PIB, Ministry of information and broadcasting.

We also conducted a series of research previously in the last elections and the outcome was tremendous.

Collaborate With Us

We are open to collaboration with schools, colleges, and universities on this mission, as we believe that young minds need direction, and it becomes our responsibility to make them aware of their rights and duties. If you want us to conduct a session at your educational institution, then please provide the details in the given form..

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