Combating fake news while staying at home ― Liew Yit Wey

MARCH 25 ― As we enter the second half of the movement control order (MCO), many of us who obey the order would start getting bored at home and miss the “outside world”, whether is it our friends, foods or other entertainment activities.

Naturally, we would be on social media more often to keep ourselves entertained and stay connected with the ongoing situation. It is one of the rare moments in life where most of my families and friends are constantly updated with the latest news.

However, as we are all familiar with, social media is a double-edged sword. I have also heard many fake news coming from my close circles. Some of these messages from Whatsapp have even been forwarded several times!

The consequences of fake news will be huge at this moment. Fake news is more than able to cause confusion and panic among public. As we have witness earlier, confusion and panic leads people to crowd at stores to hoard supplies which is the last thing we would want now.

All resources should be utilised to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and should not be wasted on combating fake news and its consequences.

Verify information we received before we share it. It is a simple step especially with the extra time we have at home now. Government sources and news media are the first channel to refer to., launched by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commissions (MCMC) is another channel to verify news where it will constantly update the list of fake news or information.

For information regarding Covid-19, the Ministry of Health (MoH) is undoubtedly the best source. MoH has been providing constant update in their social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the past few weeks. Various infographics is also available for elderly to absorb information easily.

Despite the amount of workload at the moment, MoH has also constantly identified fake news in their social media from time to time. The staff of health ministry already had their hands full in protecting us from the virus.

With the extra comfort and time available we have at home, let us take over the burden of combating fake news from the ministry.

Besides stopping the spread of fake news, we should also be proactive in sharing the correct information. The ripple effect of any small but useful information can help in this global pandemic.

For example, a clear and correct information will help in reducing confusion, avoid panic buying, leading to the success of MCO and the aim of social distancing, which is very important in mitigating Covid-19.

Never in mankind history that we can easily communicate messages and information as we are now.

At this crucial period, let us use this advantage wisely, it can go a long way in our battle against Covid-19.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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