Social media is lekker – it’s your world at your fingertips.
You can go onto Facebook, connect with your friends and see what they’re up to.
You can write down your thoughts and comments and join chats.
You can also share pictures, video, audio and web links.
The problem comes in when users share unverified information and pass it off as news.
The post gets shared and shared over and over until it goes viral.
This can cause serious problems.
Like the story of the guy who was branded a panty thief, after his drunk friends played a prank on him by posting a “wanted” picture of him on Facebook.
And even though the “friend” has apologised, the damage is done.
Once you get called a panty thief, that’s it for you, the nickname will probably stick in the real world long after the post is deleted.
But this is only a petty example.
Think about the woman who was confronted by two mothers and accused of being a kidnapper, after she photographed two girls in a shopping mall.
One of the mothers shared her picture, flat out called her a kidnapper, without trying to get to the bottom of the story first.
The suspected kidnapper didn’t know where to put her face after that.
OK, the woman has no business taking photos of other people’s children in public, but that doesn’t make her a snatcher.
Similarly, the owner of a company, who found that pictures of his delivery vehicles had been shared – thousands of times – in a message warning people against child kidnappers.
The poor guy’s vans have been pulled over by cops several times and his business is suffering.
All because some irresponsible person shared misinformation online.
This is why Munier says: don’t believe everything you read on social media, unless it comes from a reputable news source.
Ordinary Facebook users are not journalists.
They are not trained in gathering and verifying information, and presenting facts in an accurate, fair and balanced way.
But we are, and that is what we try to do every day at the Daily Voice.
So please mense, be careful what you share and read online.
People’s safety, livelihoods and reputations are at stake.