Sunday, July 21, 2024

Rumor Scanner detected 1915 misinformation in 2023

Throughout the past year, the Bangladeshi fact-checking organization detected 1,915 cases of misinformation disseminated via social media and mainstream media.


Rumor Scanner’s analysis revealed that the majority of these cases, 597 in total or 31% of all misinformation, pertained to political topics. This number surpasses the 248 political misinformation cases identified in 2022 within just the first nine months of the year.

Rumor Scanner noted a concerning increase in the spread of false political information online in 2023, a year preceding Bangladesh’s twelfth national parliamentary election. In the previous year, 320 instances of election-related misinformation were recorded. Notably, 49 instances involved fabricated comments or information linked to foreign media, states, diplomats, international organizations, and their leaders. Additionally, there were 35 cases related to U.S. sanctions and visa revocations, 30 concerning the caretaker government, and 32 involving distorted statements from political figures.

Beyond politics, Rumor Scanner identified misinformation in various other areas: 359 cases in international affairs, 223 in sports, 171 in national issues, 142 in religion, 107 in education, 79 in entertainment and literature, 65 in science and technology, 55 in financial fraud, 29 in health, and 88 in miscellaneous topics.

The team highlighted that the highest incidence of political misinformation, totaling 121 cases or 20% of this category, involved Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Other notable figures included BNP’s Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman (31 cases), BNP’s Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir (30 cases), Awami League’s General Secretary Obaidul Quader (29 cases), former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia (23 cases), President Mohammed Shahabuddin (17 cases), Jamaat leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi (16 cases), BNP leader Rumeen Farhana (14 cases), and former ICT Prime Minister’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy (3 cases).

Misinformation also involved Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal (19 cases) and content creator Hero Alom (20 cases). Furthermore, 12 instances of misinformation concerned Nobel Laureate Professor Dr. Muhammad Yunus.

Both the Bangladesh Army and the Bangladesh Police were subject to misinformation, with 64 instances involving the Army and 38 regarding the Police.

On October 28 of the previous year, amid tensions at political assemblies in Dhaka, Rumor Scanner identified 40 pieces of misinformation (link), with 12 on that day alone, marking the highest single-day count for any event that year.

Concerning the 2023 national education curriculum, Rumor Scanner identified seven instances of misinformation, leading to their recognition with the ‘Positive Influencer Award’ (link) by LeadsWin Limited.

Following the ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, the longstanding conflict escalated, resulting in 59 misinformation cases (link) being the highest for a single event in 2023.

During the Men’s One Day Cricket World Cup in India in 2023, 52 misinformation cases were recorded, the second-highest for a single event that year (link).

Additionally, 36 misinformation cases related to earthquakes in Turkey and Syria were identified (link).

In 2023, 145 misinformation cases involved the misuse of media elements like fake photocards, names, logos, and edited headlines (105 fake photocards, 20 using media names and logos, 20 broadcasting altered headlines). The most misused media outlet was ‘Prothom Alo’ (40 instances, about 28%), followed by ‘Kaler Kantho’ (27 instances, about 19%).

Significantly, Rumor Scanner plans to launch a special website on January 5, featuring fact-check reports and dynamic infographics on misinformation related to the forthcoming national parliamentary elections.

Rumor Scanner is a fact-checking initiative aimed at eliminating ongoing rumors and false news in the country and providing accurate information to the public. Since its inception on March 17, 2020, Rumor Scanner joined the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) on July 28, 2021.

Press Release sent by
Md. Sakiuzzaman
[email protected]

RS Team
Rumor Scanner Fact-Check Team
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