In an era where fake news parading as facts is far too common, media outlets play an important role. However, it is often that these media outlets themselves are targeted by fake news and misinformation campaigns, often without their knowledge. One such phenomenon among Tamil news TV channels involves misusing news templates to peddle fake news.
A news template refers to graphic cards bearing text used by media houses in order to quickly deliver breaking news or current news. This is primarily used on the official social media accounts of news channels. They carry the official logo and names of their official social media handles, just like an official letterhead would. More often than not, these templates are used to relay statements made by leaders and hence, also carry the photos of the leaders being quoted.
However, many Tamil news channels are often the victims of fake news by miscreants who alter their official template to make false claims. The miscreants change the quote by the said leader or alter the news seen on the official template to peddle fake news. In addition to affecting the person being deliberately misquoted, it also damages the credibility of the media outlet in an already charged political landscape. These fake news templates are largely circulated through WhatsApp and they pass off as fact.
While not apparent from a passing glance, a closer examination of these fake news templates will show that they are falsified. A comparison of text, design and font from the template on the official social media handle of the news channel and the fake news template will make it obvious that the latter has been digitally altered. A simple check of the official social media handle of the news channel and/ or its website should suffice to prove whether the template at hand is fake or not.
Sometimes, the names of the official account and their handles are slightly altered to create an impression of authenticity, so one must beware of that too.