mid-day editorial: Can't fool all the people all the time

Mountaineers Dinesh and Tarkeshwari Rathod have been accused of making false claims as tall as the Himalayas. Well, literally. Dinesh and Tarkeshwari, a couple, had their moments of glory after claiming they had summited the Everest. Now, they may have a tough time proving that they did not doctor the Everest summit photographs.

The Rathods are being investigated over allegations by fellow mountaineers that they morphed photographs of reaching the Everest summit as a couple, creating a record. They were much feted and felicitated, till a group of mountaineers aided by pictures the couple had posted on their social media, cast doubts on their so called achievement.

While the did-they-didn’t-they controversy rages, it proves that a hi-tech social media age, is a double-edged sword. While social media may help you get your two minutes of fame much faster than before, it can also be used to call your bluff. Hollow claims can be more easily exposed these days and pictures, on social media are a powerful tool towards exposing false claims. Such is human nature that there will always be fakes inflating achievements, when there is gain like fame and money.

Years ago, a top Mumbai choreographer faked an invite for the royal wedding of William and Kate. He said he was invited to perform at Buckingham Palace, till the Palace denied ever inviting him.

Sataparna Mukherjee was swamped by media attention after she claimed she got a prestigious NASA internship, for her theory on making a time machine. Yet, a Facebook post first raised a question mark on her claim and NASA denied offering any internship or scholarship to an Indian student called Sataparna Mukherjee.

Moral of the story is that fakers beware, the hi-tech blitz can blow away your claims, you can’t fool all the people all the time. One false claim or exposé will brand you a fraud for life, since the public always remembers the bad more than the good. There is many a slip between the claim and the click.

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