“Received a forward that looks too good to be true!!! or maybe came across a piece of news that you want verified !! Send it across and we will Fact Check it for you, no questions asked.”
This is what the official handle of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) tweeted on Thursday. It added, “Ever wondered if a WhatsApp forward is true or just fake news? Or if a tweet/ FB (Facebook) post is real? Fret no more!”
It said the web link or a “snapshot” of that information can be shared through email, and the government would respond after checking its authenticity. It announced that PIB is now officially trying to bust fake news or false information, but the information has to be related to the government.
Kuldeep Singh Dhatwalia, Principal Director General of PIB, told The Indian Express that because of the “speed at which false information is being circulated on social media”, the government will try to verify the authenticity of government-related information.
“We are starting with government-related news,” Dhatwalia said. “If it is not factually correct and it comes to our notice, we will ask the concerned officer of the particular ministry to check with the ministry and we will put out the factual position.”
Dhatwalia added that PIB would be “thankful” to those who “bring something which is not genuine to our notice”, and “the moment we are sure that it is fake news, we will put the official version in the public domain”.
He said that PIB has to “put a new system in place”, for which they are “identifying and training officers”. The team will include “just a few officers who are already working on social media”, he said, who will be groomed and trained. He said the initiative is restricted to information about the Union government and its ministries and departments as of now, but “we will see how far we can go” with it.