Digital footprints have real world consequences
Communicating in the digital age is so constant, instant and effortless, that we forget that our messages can have real-life implications. The culture of forwarding unverified messages, hate speech and fake news has plagued India for a long time, and has led to communal tension, civil unrest and even loss of life. This pattern was observed across all social media and instant messaging apps.
Risk to public health and safety
This behaviour intensified during the Covid-19 lockdown and forwards now also included unverified medical information. These unverified forwards, especially during a global pandemic could drastically risk public health and safety.
- Being one of the biggest digital stakeholders, TikTok India wanted to start a conversation about fake news and misinformation - a conversation that barely anyone was having.
- We wanted to emphasise to users the real world negative impact of their digital actions.
- We wanted to provide them with the knowledge required to identify such forwards and then give them clear directives and action points on how they can play a role in slowing the spread of misinformation - reporting, blocking and when in doubt, not forwarding.
- We weren’t looking for just a short-term change, we wanted to modify society’s message forwarding behaviour
- We also wanted to amplify the main message of the film through our social media handles to help it reach as many people as possible - not just in metros but at the grassroots level as well.
One call to action
We wanted ingrain one simple call to action in the minds of our audiences -
if you receive a forward that
(a) could harm someone,
(b) that has misleading information from an unreliable source, or
(c) you doubt it’s authenticity,
Bait & Switch
- Since Coronavirus was the most relevant topic, we baited them at the start of the video by talking about how the deadly virus spreads because of our carelessness.
- And upon having their interest, flipped the script to reveal that we’ve been drawing startling parallels between how harmful and contagious fake news can be, even more than the virus.
Empowering the audience
- This video on it’s own, merely started the conversation. We needed to educate the audiences constantly to actually modify their digital behaviour.
- We empowered the audience with tools by deploying our social networks to help the audiences identify potentially dangerous forwards, report threats and most importantly - make verification second nature.
- Our posts and videos essentially became a resource library to educate oneself on how to stop the spread of misinformation
- We also asked users to send in fake messages they spotted online, and displayed them on our handles asking people to ‘Spot The Fake’, making it a UGC learning experience
- Our goal was to have a national visibility and reach of this crucial message. We thus activated a plan to have this amplified on social media through Youtube masthead, influencer collaborations as well as UGC posts. (70% of amplification budget)
- But to reach the grassroots we needed national and regal TV coverage on GEC and news channels too. (30% of amplification budget)
- Since a key target audience who had to hear this message was family whatsapp groups, we initiated a forward chain to help boost the organic circulation of the video through family groups.
- We invested in the Youtube masthead to get instant visibility on our campaign film. This was effectively visible not only on the mobile youtube app, but also on the TV app of Youtube.
- We identified key opinion influencers to help us promote the message of MatKarForward. This amplification was done through posts and stories on the influencers social handles, while also providing swipe up links to our video. Having some of India’s biggest celebrities in the campaign also helped us leverage their social handles to gain maximum traction.
MatKarForward surpassed our expectations in terms of reaching the masses.
- We generated 70 Million+ Video Views on social networks
- On the TikTok app we received almost 3 Billion video views and 869.6K In-app creations
- Across platforms, we had an engagement of 13.9 Million+ and generated 110.1 Million+ Impressions.
- During the campaign period we gained 55.5K followers on Instagram alone, and our film got 7K+ saves, which is a testament to the interest of the audience in the content.
- The forward chain we started to help boost the organic circulation of the video through family groups got us a reach of 10.08 Million+ on Whatsapp
More importantly, our efforts of trying to modify society’s forwarding behaviour and make verification second nature, seemed to start taking root as during the first week itself, we nearly got 40K flagged reports with respect to fake news or misinformation on the TikTok app.
We received numerous comments from the viewers letting us know that our initiative was aptly timed and much needed. TikTok India received it’s highest positive brand sentiment on Day 1 of the campaign (56% Positive, 37% neutral)
Our hashtag, #MatKarForward was being extensively used by official police handles of Mumbai, Raipur, Amravati, Nagpur, Jaipur, Kerala, Rajasthan, as well as government organisations such as IRCTC, ASSOCHAM, Maharashtra Cyber, cemented its position as being synonymous with identifying and flagging fake news.
Our film was reposted by the political party members of AAP, BJP and Congress, garnering us nationwide views.
Video for Mat Kar Forward