Be wary of fake news on social media

2019-10-15 06:00

It is quick and easy to share any security information or warnings on social media but if you didn’t confirm its authenticity before posting, you might end up doing more damage than you think.

We are seeing more and more fake news posts relating to crime warnings and other security and safety news hitting the likes of Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. The intention might appear to have been noble and praiseworthy but it often turns out to have been in reality driven by less than honest motives.

These items often fuel the agenda of an individual or group and promote fearmongering based on false information. By forwarding the information you are promoting fake news.

When it comes to security-related fake news, the effects are all the more harmful. Criminals are often behind security-related fake news items. Their objective is to promote their own selfish agenda, whatever that may be.

It can lead to wasted resources. The police and security companies may respond to a particular fake news item claiming an incident has happened, for example, while criminals target another area. This is why it is so important to verify any information you receive before forwarding it. It is also important to watch what photographs you post. Posting a photo of an alleged suspect could result in that case potentially being thrown out of court at a later date.

The important thing to remember is – if there is any doubt as to the legitimacy of the information, don’t share it.

Information can be verified through the police or other security authorities. We all need to be responsible when it comes to spreading information, especially relating to safety and security. Otherwise, we could be responsible for igniting fires where there are no fires at all.

Jade Hanning, Fidelity ADT Cape Town South district manager

Inside News24

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