Covid-19: Separate the facts from the fake news, warns social media expert

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Mar 29, 2020

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Durban - Anyone sharing fake news about Covid-19 will be fined or jailed for six months. This is according to social media expert Emma Sadleir.

In an interview with eNCA on Sunday, she explained that even people who forwarded unverified news articles could find themselves in trouble. 

"Every single person who presses forward is committing a criminal offence if they are intending to deceive," she said. 

She urged residents to presume every voicenote or message about the coronavirus was fake until it was otherwise proven.

"Go and do your own investigation. People need to interrogate the information that they receive," she said. 

Sadleir urged people to double check with credible news sites before forwarding voicenotes and messages about Covid-19.

Since the outbreak in South Africa, earlier this month, residents have been sharing voicenotes and messages that were later debunked by the Health Ministry and its affiliated agencies. 

Apart from checking news sites, residents can also verify information that they receive against research conducted on the Africa Check, National Institute for Communicable Diseases and Department of Health websites. 

According to Africa Check, The World Health Organisation said that the outbreak has been accompanied by an “infodemic“: “an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it”. 

%%%twitter https://twitter.com/AfricaCheck?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AfricaCheckhas been #factchecking these as fast as we find them. You can now find all our checks in one place. https://t.co/VB3LGdNXN2

— Africa Check (@AfricaCheck)

%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/Kenya?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Kenyafor showing Covid-19 symptoms.

The photo is from the #Westgate terrorist attack in Nairobi in 2013. https://t.co/tJI8fUmxBC

— Africa Check (@AfricaCheck)

%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/SouthAfrica?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SouthAfricawarns that if #COVID19 cases increase in the country, schools will stay closed beyond the current deadline of 14 April 2020 & only re-open in 2021.

But this is FALSE. https://t.co/QUyVf9822Y

— Africa Check (@AfricaCheck)

%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19Frequently Asked Questions in Afrikaans https://t.co/mMsew2xvhm via @YouTube

— NICD (@nicd_sa)

IOL

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