This is one of the most important and interesting topic I’ve ever spoken about. Yesterday I’ve done my first Live Talk on Facebook with the American Embassy Team that I’m proud of and as much as it was my first, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It is important for people to be aware of fake news and how it affects them.
Having to emerge this topic on Facebook, it wasn’t easy at all I’d say. Most people preferred to watch and learn than to watch and engage. I suppose it wasn’t meant for all viewers.
In general, news does play a crucial role in our lives. Imagine the world without news? Pretty much dead. We can all agree that not everyone is well equipped to differentiate between genuine content and fake.
News is not only to inform about our surroundings but also entertains and educate us.
What is fake news?
Taking a closer look at the picture on the right, this was supposed to be an alleged announcement by Minister of Police Bheki Cele about when people will be allowed to purchase alcohol and times that stores are allowed to sell alcohol.
This image was edited to appeal original to the eyes of the public, the headline was attractive, they used SABC logo and attention grabbing picture to look genuine but this was reported fake.
To prove that, usually the sign language translator is on the bottom right of the screen and not next to the speaker.
Impact of fake news in the society?
People in the society are mislead due to fake news that trends on social media. If you remember the post about blue musks and that they are contaminated instead of minimizing risks of catching the covid 19, it mislead a lot of people especially those who were not aware that it wasn’t true and because they used a picture of an influential person to make it look like he was the one warning the public.
The public’s perception around the blue musk changed because they thought it was contaminated. It didn’t look like it was minimizing the chances at all because of what they thought it was said about the musk.
Which in turn causes a lot of distraction to the public. If you were one of those who owned a pair of blue musk you would panic that you have caught it from the musk which is not true, that will also confuse your emotions leading to depression about your status.
How to spot fake news?
Usually fake news is spread on social media including Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp either from Friends or even families. Anyone can share fake news on purpose or without the knowledge. Hence it is important to learn how to spot fake news.
Consequences of spreading fake news
This might look like is not a serious issue but it is a serious conviction according to the law. Most people don’t initiate to check before forwarding or posting on social media or even go extra mile and do research about the content before sharing and some people are sharing fake news on purpose.
The guy on the picture was recently in court due to sharing a video that went viral on social media, saying that the government will start testing people using contaminated tools and even illustrated what they will be using to text for Covid 19.
According to the law of South Africa, when you are caught spreading fake news you will either be in prison for six month or get a fine for it. Think about how you will be seen in the public if you spread fake news, think about your reputation and the public not being able to trust information you share after this happened.
My advice to you
If you receive a suspicious content rather double check for confirmation before sharing. Check with reliable sources, watch the news or listen to the radio to be updated on what’s happening around you to avoiding spreading misinformation. The more you are aware of your surrounding the easier it is to spot fake news or to consider the content suspicious.
To watch the full video press here>>>https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=570245173615873&ref=watch_permalink
By: Fortunate Machaba