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Editorial: Watch What You Read On Social Media

There is so much misinformation and propaganda going on in social media today that it is important to discern what is true and what is false. For example, in a
01 Aug 2017 11:00
Editorial: Watch What You Read On Social Media

There is so much misinformation and propaganda going on in social media today that it is important to discern what is true and what is false.

For example, in a recent episode, someone started a rumour that Cabinet Minister Parveen Bala has been taken in for questioning by FICAC. This is a mischievous attempt by the anti-Government mob who live in cyberspace and use their keyboards to disseminate fake news designed to destabilise Government.

Discernment should be the buzz word now. We must be able to tell the difference between facts and lies. It requires us to check and verify information fed to us through social media and even the mainstream media.

People use the social media to post information because it is accessible by phone with an internet access.

They hide behind fake identities and  spread their hate mail and false information to deliberately malign people they are targeting. They do it with impunity because the law cannot  reach them.

The social media phenomenon is easily backed up by what Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has revealed – there are now more sim-cards in circulation than the population of the country and that there are over 500,000 people who are using smart phones.

People know they can get away with anything on social media. That feeling of being untouchable empowers them to attack or spread malicious  rumours devoid of facts against others with scant regard for decorum and human decency.

Social media forums like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others are used to spread politically motivated and sinister messages which are couched in language that would mislead the naïve and vulnerable.

For instance, a person may write – ‘Government is planning to ask banks for loans’. Imagine the hysteria this causes on social media. First reactions are that people will start withdrawing their money and the country will be thrown into chaos.

This is the danger that social media abuse can cause when the forums are exploited by those who dislike the Government.

As Mr Sayed-Khaiyum pointed out to students and lecturers at the University of Fiji yesterday, it is very important to discern and filter news that is being given to us.

How we discern it will probably shape our lives, and if it is bad, could probably contribute to the deterioration of families, the community and the country as a whole.

We must rise above the mass of humanity and stand up and say no to such news or have that drive to investigate whether it is true or not rather than accepting everything on face value.

People, especially the youth, must be encouraged to pick the good from the bad, read the right from the wrong for if they do not do that now, it will surely have a rippling effect in time to come.

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