A Muslim girl had allegedly been abducted, and a Hindu temple had ordered masked thugs into battle. Hindu and Muslim males started fighting on the streets of downtown England as soon as local rage over an India-Pakistan cricket match was added.
In Leicester, where police made nearly 50 arrests and a town was left in ruins, a social media storm that was largely whipped up across an ocean manifested itself in real life.
A representative from the fact-checking website Logically, which examined the messages’ validity, called it “a vivid demonstration of how hashtag dynamics on Twitter may exploit dubious inflammatory claims to… increase tensions on the ground.
“According to experts, the majority of the inflammatory tweets, rumors, and lies originated in India, demonstrating the ability of unmanaged social media to spread misinformation and cause unrest across a whole continent.
The mayor of Leicester, Peter Soulsby, said, “I’ve seen quite a sample of the social media stuff which is very, very, very distorted now and some of it just absolutely false about what had been happening between different populations.”
The head of Leicestershire Police, Rob Nixon, agreed, telling the false information spread on social media had contributed “hugely” to the turmoil of last month.
Police responded to some of these accusations on social media by stating that they had thoroughly examined reports of three guys allegedly approaching a teenage girl in an attempt to kidnap her and had discovered absolutely no truth to the internet account. We strongly advise you to only post on social media facts you can verify.
The reports that gangs of masked thugs were bussed into Leicester were likewise debunked by fact-checkers. Analysis revealed that many of the false messages asserting that Hindus and Hindu websites were being assaulted originated in India.