WhatsApp Video Provoke Villages to Lynch Mobbing?
WhatsApp – Telangana, India
In the southern state of Telangana, India people pay more attention to the news circulating on WhatsApp than from any other source and this past summer, the news created panic, mayhem and some disturbing crime.
One a particularly warm night something unusual began to take place. Something the local police had not ever seen before.
The streets emptied early and every resident shuttered themselves behind locked and bolted doors just after dusk – in more than 400 villages.
Authorities were puzzled by the unusual behavior, it was summer after all and very hot and dry. Children usually played until much later in the night, villagers would sit outside enjoying the night breeze.
Turns out, some disturbing video was circulating on WhatsApp. Some of the disturbing video’s depicted adults being disemboweled, others showed children being abducted. Each video came with messages that were meant to be a warning, one of such messages was that tribespeople were killing villagers to steal human organs.
Each of the villages has roughly over 2 dozen WhatsApp users where it is said that media literacy is low.
During the investigation, police learned the disturbing and frightening videos actually started circulation way back in March, possibly even earlier.
In April two women who missed a bus after performing at a religious function decided to stay in the village overnight. Around midnight that night a drunken fool saw them and woke his village informing them that “child kidnappers” were in town.
That of course sent a lynch mob after the women who were saved in the end but not after being beaten.
From April to May it was reported that at least 13 similar incidents had occurred, in just one village.
In April mobs across India attempted to mob at least 25 individuals.
This proves just how powerful social media in this decade have become worldwide.
Some have turned to the sites for news and in some areas because that is the only way they can really get news.
While these sites fight any form of regulation, the honest truth is perhaps we might need to look at strict regulation that would hold the site itself responsible for allowing content to spread panic which then results in a lynch mob or two or a dozen or more.
Or we could simply wait until people just start killing one another.
Cristal M Clark