With the danger of an outbreak looming upon us, the news we share on social media becomes even more important. 

A study by Microsoft found that over 64 percent of Indians have encountered fake news online, the highest among the 22 countries surveyed. A public health crisis can shoot up the dissemination of irrelevant and fake news, which may include hoaxes to prevent or cure the virus. Famous Chinese messaging app, TikTok and WhatsApp have frequently been victims of videos and messages that claim to provide solutions to stop the virus.

The problem is not limited to facts. A large proportion of messages shared by people have little to do with verifiable facts and peddle prejudiced opinions. This includes influential people as well. Union Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Choubey, claimed that sunlight can improve immunity and kill coronavirus. There have been instances of people claiming that cow urine can cure people of the disease, which has been denied by scientists and the World Health Organisation (WHO). This vividly reflects that people choose to ignore facts owing to a repetition of certain messages within their circles.

Most of such messages reach the least informed people. They are prone to believe the things that they come across. Research published in 2018 has shown that during the Zika Virus outbreak, most popular messages contained fake headlines and content. Rumours obtained three times more shared than verified stories. Interestingly, rumours (20% of them) also portrayed Zika as a conspiracy against the public. This largely captures the behaviour of people when faced with a disease outbreak.

However, stories like these only worsen the situation. People fail to understand government policies and credible news, which do not reach people owing to an overwhelming number of irrelevant news in their inboxes. In a huge pile of messages and articles, the relevant ones are either ignored or are discredited.

By curbing down on such stories, right and requisite information can reach the people. With a dense population, India can get fatally affected by an outbreak, if it ever happens. One form of prevention lies in our hands, by selectively sharing information from verified sources. This boosts our self-interest as well

This obligates media houses as well. As the world of news has become faster due to the internet, media houses rush to get their hands on anything that can pacify their readers. They are notorious for capitalising on unverified stories using captivating headlines and vocabulary. As a need for legitimate news grows, media houses should act as India’s first line of defence to counter fake and irrelevant news.

The Press Information Bureau, along with other fact-checking organisation should work towards curbing the circulation of news and messages that claim unverified prevention measures. People should share correct preventive measures which are verified by organisations like the WHO or the Indian Council of Medical Research.

A truly reliable source of information these days is the WhatsApp contact of the WHO. It is a chat-bot that answers all queries pertaining to the novel coronavirus. Government websites are also equally effective.

The need to change our behaviour is immediate and intense.


Featured Image Credits: The Guardian


Kuber Bathla

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NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) today allowed WhatsApp to beta test its latest project of payment service within a limited customer base and transaction ceiling. This is the first step in a series of Payment Services WhatsApp is planning to launch in India over the year. With India already being a booming market for the online payment services, this latest development of this online messaging platform, which sold itself in 16 billion dollars to Facebook in 2014, will establish it in rivalry with the likes of Paytm, FreeCharge, and MobiKwik.

“Currently, NPCI has given its consent to roll out WhatsApp BHIM UPI beta launch with a limited user base of one million and low per transaction limit. Four banks will join the multi-bank BHIM UPI model in phases (in the coming weeks) and full feature product shall be released after the beta test is successful,” GadgetsNow recorded NPCI saying in a statement. The revelation was quickly followed up by a backlash from Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Paytm Founder. He pitched his allegations through his Twitter handle, which accused Facebook of arm-twisting UPI to get the and “killing beautiful open UPI system with its custom close garden implementation.” He also hinted the fact that the different algorithms would mean that the WhatsApp payment would be “unsafe”.

“After failing to win the war against India’s open Internet with cheap tricks of free basics, Facebook is again in play. Killing beautiful open UPI system with its custom close garden implementation. I am surprised, champions of open @India_Stack, let it happen!” read his tweet which surfaced earlier this day.  However, Sharma ended up being the lone wolf as the founders of FreeCharge and MobiKwik, other players in the market, stood with WhatsApp and slammed Paytm’s double standards.

“All incumbents complaining about WhatsApp getting an unfair advantage in its UPI implementation to further its business interests — Those who live in glass houses … there is a clear record of private companies who got access first and exclusively when UPI was launched,” tweeted Bipin Preet Singh, CEO, and Founder of MobiKwik. WhatsApp certainly would take the lion’s share of the flourishing market once it fully establishes itself, which would only mean the demise of the small-scale startups. This would also mean that the Chinese investment in the various ventures would complete evaporate, marking the end of the days of maintaining online Wallets, as a bank to bank transaction would become the norm.

Feature Image Credits: The Independent

Nikhil Kumar
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Recently, I realised that I have become addicted to social media. The signs had been all there. I found myself scrolling through Facebook and Instagram inadvertently most of the time. I could not stop the urge to open my social media accounts every half an hour and check the new updates.

I would like to use the term ‘addiction’ for this urge because that is exactly what this is. We, without even realising, slowly become addicted to the social media. We like to know what is happening in someone else’s life with whom we might have not even exchanged more than few words. Subconsciously we even start comparing our lives with theirs and become disheartened by how different or unadventurous our lives are. This, as I clearly do not need to point out is all but a facade. We realize the truth and from time to time even put a check on ourselves. There is a brief moment of clarity where we decide to abstain from social media. Alas! We “rush to fall into snares of delusion all over again.”

So when I had this brief moment of clarity about a month back, I decided to delete all social media applications from my mobile phone. This time my decision was firm to not revert to old ways. However, I did not delete my accounts. I also had to keep my WhatsApp because well, it is an occupational hazard. Since I could open my accounts only on my laptop, the access to them was restricted due to the inconvenience involved. The first week was hard, I must say. But after the fifteenth day, I realised that I had more time on my hands. I finally took to reading some of the books which I had not been able to time for. Without the distraction of the chaotic world of social media, I also found time to put into words some of the ideas that had been floating around in my head.

Yes, I agree that it is not possible to completely avoid social media. In fact I believe that one shouldn’t so because in a way or so they are essential too. But what I have discerned in some past few weeks is that we allow ourselves to get completely hooked to it. One of the reasons might be that we are seeking too much validation from everyone around us. Perhaps, this best explains our constant need to upload snippets from our lives for everyone to see. Some days back, I read about a study from Microsoft Corporation in a TIME article. It said that since 2000 the average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. This essentially means that even a goldfish known for being ill-focussed has a longer attention span at nine seconds. So I hope that if you too are suffering from this addiction, you decide to take a step towards curbing it. I assure you from my experience that life will become more productive and meaningful.


Feature Image Credits: Matthew Muccio

Anukriti Mishra
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College life is driven by a lot of factors. Although, technology is not a very major one, it helps you to keep tab on various aspects of your college life. So, here’s the first part of the list of the hardware that we think would really help you in your undergraduate journey:

  1. Smartphone 

    Source: pixabey.com

With time changing more swiftly than weather, a smartphone is a must for all new fuchchas out there unless you want to get on back foot for losing out on the random WhatsApp chats and latest class time updates and last minute changes declared by your popular class representative (CR). From taking a perfect selfie to calculating your monthly expenses, your smartphone can be the gateway to the world.




2. Earphones

Source: www.publicdomainpictures.net
Source: www.publicdomainpictures.net

From the drum beats of the theatre society to the noises of students bunking classes, you have to face a whole new level of distractions while trying to concentrate on something in college. In this situation a good earphone can come as a great rescue in time. With a great combination of right volume and right music it has the power to shift you to a different world where you can focus on your work in hand. No doubt some awesome companies like Google, Facebook and apple have earphone vending machines on their office premises.


3. Power Banks

Source: wikimedia.org
Source: wikimedia.org

From waking you up in the morning for the 8:30 classes to satisfying your soul with music during break within classes, your phone works harder than you. With WhatsApp and Facebook notifications pinging up in every ten minutes your phone’s battery life is going to get tired like you at the end or even middle of the day. A good power bank can ensure that your lifeline i.e. – phone doesn’t go out of its life and make your life more difficult. Go get one, before you decide between whether to make a last call of the day or to play your favourite song.




Having the right hardware is just not enough. One needs to know how to use it. Else it’s just dead weight that you’re carrying. So here’s the first part of the list of apps and software that would really help you in your undergraduate journey:

  1. For Social Needs

WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat – These are the four pillars of a good social life in not just DU, but in any university across the nation. Most of you, are already on Facebook and WhatsApp. Instagram and Snapchat are the ones on which many of you still aren’t. For an all-round social life, you need to be on the other two as well. You’ll realise their importance once the fest season comes. So register yourself right now and like the DU Beat pages (Yes! That is essential for a very cool social life as well. True Story!).


2. For Documentation and Project Needs

Open Office & Libre Office – These three are free license office suites which will help you to do all your digital assignments, presentation, reports and projects on Laptop or PC. Microsoft Office suite is one the best but it is paid. These are the best free alternatives.

53. For Utility

Truecaller – If you have an active social life in college or you’re involved in various co-curricular activities, you’ll need to filter out the incoming calls. This app comes in handy. It’s a universal caller ID which gives you the name of the person along with some additional information. User can also block numbers, making it an excellent ‘pervert management tool for girls.

ColorNote– The app is one of the best apps for taking quick notes and messages on your phone. You can make check lists and can even pin your TODOs in the notification bar. It’s available for Android and Windows phone. Similar variants are available for Apple iPhones easily.

Pocket– The ultimate apps for bookmarks. There are various links leading to articles about plethora of things on various social networks which will resonate with your personality. This app helps you save such links so that they can be read anywhere, on any platform or device. You can even save them offline and load it later. All you need to do is save them under your pocket account.


We wrap up the first part of our tech list here. Stay tuned for more. Do tell us about your personal experiences with apps and software in similar categories.

Image credits: natashascrazylife.blogspot.com

Kavach Chandra and Srivedant Kar
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[email protected]