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Tea Leaves

In India, 'fake news' has deadly consequences

Spread of smartphones has taken rumor mongering to dangerous depths


At the turn of the millennium, I wrote a master's thesis at the London School of Economics on the revolutionary potential of mobile telephony. I had bought my first mobile phone only months before, and the potential of the technology to transcend spatial constraints had my mind spinning like a pinwheel in a tempest.

Starry eyed, I described how in countries with poor infrastructure like India, these phones could revolutionize livelihoods by liberating farmers from middlemen, allowing them to check prices for crops and get the best deals at markets.

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