Police warn against posting fake information

2018-05-10 06:01
The community is warned against posting fake information online.PHOTO: sourced

The community is warned against posting fake information online.PHOTO: sourced

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POSTING fake information on social media can hinder the outcome of a case — this is according to a SAPS communications officer, Captain Linzi Smith.

According to Smith: “Fake scandals, news, stories or gossips often seem more believable than the truth and have led to racism, harassment, intimidation and damage to people’s reputation.”

Smith said that the most recent incident occurred last week when rumours were fabricated on the social media platforms declaring that a female security guard that was assaulted by Kaiser Chiefs supporters at Moses Mabhida Stadium, last Saturday, allegedly died after sustaining serious injuries.

However, it was later discovered that the information was incorrect as the male security was critical in hospital.

Smith said fake stories can cause irreparable reputational damage to a business and a person’s reputation.

“Fake news through social media is the biggest factor behind the success of fake news stories. Cybercrime is on the increase. Youth of today need to know the implications of “posting” simple false stories and the damage that it can cause and the consequences they can face,” said the officer.

However, Smith said that this does not only apply to the youth of today. “Even sharing a post that is untrue is spreading the false information. People need to be wary of what they share, and verify posts. Posting fake stories or news can ultimately have long-term effects that can ‘come back and bite’ in years to come,” said Smith.

Steven King of SA Community Crime Watch also urged the community to refrain from spreading false information on social media.

“Fake news reporters should be charged criminally. It has become a means to legitimately discredit individuals as well as organisations.

The direct impact fake news can have on the targeted individual is immense and can cause a total breakdown of the persons self-esteem as well as cause huge damage within the individual’s family and social circle. It’s in many aspects online and emotional bullying, but worse.

The effect of fake news in South Africa has mainly been used to stir up hatred and divide. With the current political situation it has become a tool to discredit individual and groupings,” said King.


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