Responding to fake news, incitement

THE EDITOR: Over the past decade we in TT have seen it all: False weather bulletins leading to traffic chaos and high absentee rates. Videos erroneously attributed to local businesses in an attempt to impugn reputations. Malicious and unverified WhatsApp voice messages that have struck a chord of fear and panic through the entire nation. Unsubstantiated reports of child abductions and human trafficking. Deaths of public figures. Rumours of devaluations.

In each case, the offending “post” was indiscriminately shared and there were real and even quantifiable consequences for productivity, commerce and mental health.

A responsible citizen would do well not only to inoculate oneself from the leveling effects of this new phenomenon. One also owes a debt of care to the people in one’s network to ensure that all that one posts, says or shares is legitimate, factual and bona-fide. We must, as social media consumers and practitioners, act as doctors do. Guided in principle by the first promise of the Hippocratic Oath to: “First, to do no harm.”googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1530739344582-8’); });


We must do better or suffer the consequences. For in the absence of self-regulation, there is a need for legislation; as it must then fall to the State to protect the public from fake news, panic, miseducation, and incitement.


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Source: Newsday