Report: Risk of False Information Highest In India


Ahead of the general elections in India, the World Economic Forum’s 2024 Global Risk Report finds that false information is a major threat to the citizens.

The chart shows that the risk of disinformation and misinformation is the highest in India.

It also shows the varying degrees to which misinformation and disinformation are rated to be problems for select countries in the next two years, which was done based on a ranking of 34 economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological risks.

While disinformatoin is defined as purposefully misleading the audience, misinformation relates to information which is spread out of genuine belief, but is as harmful as is the case with conspiracy theories.

Experts felt that misinformation and disinformation are a major risk for any country, positioned even before infectious diseases, illict economic activity, inequality and labour shortage.

In India, during the 2019 elections, fake news was spread rampantly with political parties passing on the distorted information through social media which even led to anger that spilled into the real world as violence.

According to the chart, other countries facing the risk of misinformation and disinformation are El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Romania, Ireland, Czechia, the US, Sierra Leone, France and Finland. wherein the threat is considered one of the 4th-6th most dangerous risks facing the country out of 34, in the next couple of years.

In UK, misinformation/ disinformation is at rank 11 of the perceived threats.

There is a fear that misinformation/disinformation during the electoral process could lead to destabilise the newly-elected government, which in the long term could lead to erosion of democratic processes.

The report is submitted basing on data collected from 1,490 experts belonging to academia, business, government. The survey was done between September 4 and October 9, 2023.