How much of the recent violent unrest in Leicester—which shocked and outraged people and led to dozens of arrests—was actually fueled by false information that was posted online?
The past week has been spent trying to dispel some of the untrue rumors that have been swirling around Leicester and examining the extent to which they were propagated both before and after the unrest.
Rob Nixon, the interim chief constable, told BBC Two's Newsnight that there had been a conscious effort to exploit social media destructively.
According to Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, there is "no evident local cause at all" for the online misinformation. One of those who received a term for the condition has acknowledged using social media as a source of influence.
While speaking with.Some people in Leicester believe the disorder dates as least as far back as an incident on May 22. On social media, a video that appears to show a 19-year-old Muslim guy being pursued by a group of men referred to as "Hindu radicals" has gone viral. Other blogs made reference to the Hindutva movement, which is mostly supported by right-wing Hindu nationalists in India.
The video itself does not reveal much; it merely depicts a group of men sprinting down a street in black and white before a fight breaks out. It's challenging to identify these folks and learn about their individual backgrounds.
Police claim to be looking into a report of a public order violation and to have spoken with a 28-year-old guy.After conducting an investigation, Leicestershire Police said in a statement the next day that "the incident did not take place." The attempted kidnapping had not occurred, according to Majid Freeman, who later deleted his posts and claimed that his earlier account had been based on conversations with the family who had made the allegation.
Damage had already been done, though, since this fictitious kidnapping story persisted on other platforms.
Some people on WhatsApp first believed communications that had been sent numerous times to be true. Several accounts on Instagram, some with hundreds of thousands of followers, posted screenshots of the original post and purportedly blamed a Hindu man for the "failed kidnapping" by sharing the screenshot.
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