Social media users urged to authenticate info before sharing news, photos

Tan Sri Dr James Masing

KUCHING, May 26: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing calls on social media users to be alert so as not to play a part in disseminating fake news or pictures.

He said social media enables fast news delivery but at the same time, there is a danger that fake news may be disseminated and social media users may not even be aware of it.

To him, fake news and outdated pictures or doctored pictures not only create confusion or misunderstanding, it might also cost the government unnecessary wastage in terms of resources.

Citing his own experience, he said he had also fallen victim to fake news which ended up costing the government unnecessary manpower wastage.

“I will give you one example. I was sent a picture of one school under water. Concerned about the safety of the students, I despatched officers from the divisional office immediately to the site.

“Upon arrival, the officers found that there was no flooding. The photo I received earlier was a picture from previous years.

“The photo was a recycled one taken two years ago when the school was flooded. It was sent to me during the monsoon season when many places were suffering from floods, so I did not question its authenticity.

“The impact? A waste of manpower and resources due to fake news going viral via social media!” Masing told DayakDaily.

He thus called on social media users to authenticate the source of news or pictures before sending them to the next person as the news or pictures might create confusion and misunderstanding.

Masing who is Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister was responding to an online post about a secondary school principal who forbade one of his student to wear a necklace with a cross.

The posting went viral and upon checking, it was discovered to be an old post from 2016 and the issue had been already been addressed by the Education Department. — DayakDaily