Mobs in the Indian state of Jharkhand killed seven people in two violent attacks, apparently spurred into action by rumors circulating on WhatsApp.
A rumor that spread last week via the popular messaging app said strangers were abducting children. Mobs of over 500 people descended on innocent men who happened to be in the area. Not only do local police state this was completely false (no child abductions have been reported), but they say it wouldn’t have justified the crowd’s actions even if it were true.
“They knew they were taking the law into their hands, and instead of turning them in to the police they killed them,” said Animesh Naithany, Jharkhand’s deputy superintendent of police. As the Hindustan Times reports, people in the area are not as apt to question “fake news” distributed via social media.
Police are looking for the person behind the WhatsApp rumors.