Social media misinformation in India is causing tension in families

“The fact that the message always says forwarded multiple times – literally, where does this come from?” she asked. “Where does this start? I think it’s particularly upsetting, because I don’t know where this is coming from or who is sharing it with my parents.”

Apps like WhatsApp have bridged the gap between South Asia and the US so that loved ones living abroad can simply text or text via DM. While various COVID-19 lockdowns have kept many families physically apart, messaging apps have helped bridge those gaps.

“It feels like more of a formal business [via] Heer said. “It’s like a more accessible and accessible way to stay in touch with people.”

However, WhatsApp and social media have also helped to “normalize” Islamophobia in both India and the US, Hana said. “Little jokes about it – it makes it normal and makes these things normal.”

Fifteen-year-old Shifah Syed, from the Bay Area and who attended the Menlo Park rally, also noted the connection: “[Non-Muslims] don’t really realize it because it doesn’t affect them the way it affects us. ”

Young organizers say fighting Islamophobia and misinformation online requires having tough conversations with loved ones, attending live demonstrations and spreading awareness about the dangers this issue on their own social media. “As Indian women in this community, it’s really important for us to participate in these protests and always repost about this,” said Hana. [hate on social media]. ”

CDYR has attempted to facilitate difficult conversations between its members and older relatives, many of whom tend to be more conservative. In 2020, the group hosted an event with the Pilsen Coalition, a Chicago-based community engagement organization, and the City Office, a local news agency, on how to talk to parents of you about politics. This could include politics in the United States, and for young South Asians, it could also include heated discussions about Islamophobia or casteism.

Fadhila Anbar, a 22-year-old Bangladeshi organizer, is particularly concerned about misinformation regarding gay people, especially transgender women, known in South Asia as Hijras. Anbar is the founder of Marigold Seeds Collective, an organization that helps gay and trans-South Asian people forge relationships through friendship and art.

“My dad doesn’t use Facebook but my mom definitely does, and sometimes she speaks to me with weird, bizarre headlines about different people, whether it’s Hijras being pedophiles or the latest COVID-related or similar stuff. [news],” they said. “Apparently a fake, right? It was made up, but I had to explain to her, “Don’t believe what you see on Facebook.”

According to Anbar, in-person community organizing can make all the difference. A New York City-based organization they work for recently organized an art class for “aunties,” the South Asian acronym for an elderly woman who is not necessarily must be related to you. Anbar said the person who taught the class was a non-binary artist named Tara, who taught the aunts about pronouns and what non-binary is. Anbar’s mother eventually became the main coordinator for this workshop. Social media misinformation in India is causing tension in families

Charles Jones

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