Sunvoice

Editorial: Always Verify Information Posted On Social Media. Questions To Ask

Over the past few days leading up to Christmas, social media spaces have been bombarded with rather disturbing posts and comments about Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. The rumour mill was
28 Dec 2018 10:45
Editorial: Always Verify Information Posted On Social Media. Questions To Ask

Over the past few days leading up to Christmas, social media spaces have been bombarded with rather disturbing posts and comments about Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

The rumour mill was spinning out of control with posts about Mr Bainimarama allegedly suffering from a stroke. Some even posting their condolences. It is a sad state of affairs.
And when Mr Bainimarama was spotted with his wife Mary and New Zealand-based friends, the Veikosos at Flagstaff Plaza, there were still some doubters.

The live Facebook video which attracted over 1000 viewers on the Fiji Sun Facebook page showed Mr and Mrs Bainimarama having a good yarn with the Veikosos.

Yet some commented that the live Facebook Video was from an “old photo,” “doctored,” “photo shopped” and the list went on.

Sadly, the wild rumours shared on social media seem to be the preferred source of information for some Fijians.

Perhaps social media users should pay more attention to where they are getting their so called “news” from and what they are actually reading.

Those who come across a scandalous piece of information about a political figure seem eager to pass it on, without making any effort at all to verify whether the information is accurate.

Before you do that, here are some questions the Echo Press Newspaper in the US had put forward to their online readers, that are applicable to all social media users:

Where is this information coming from? Is it a legitimate news outlet, one that you’ve actually heard of and that’s been around for a while? Or is it coming from someone blogging in their bedroom? Check their Facebook account or blog which may provide some clues if their information is skewed.

What exactly are you reading? Does the story carry a byline of an actual journalist? Is it a news story or is it labelled as “opinion,” “letter to the editor,” “commentary” or “analysis?”

Is this really true? Sometimes, the stuff that’s disguised as news fits in so perfectly with a reader’s negative perception of someone, they blindly accept it as fact. It’s almost as if they are “wishing it” into truth.

The third point is relevant to what we witnessed over the past few days.

As human beings we often (unknowingly) get sucked into a vacuum of our own ideas and notions. When new facts or details come to light that do not coincide with what we think, these facts are rejected and sometimes labelled as “fake news.”

Mr and Mrs Bainimarama and their family friends walking along Flagstaff Plaza was not “fake news.”

The PM is fit and well and like most of us, is also on a much deserved break.

 

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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