10 DON’Ts: Reducing Fabricated Information on Social Media

By Tith Chandara

Copious of deceptive information shared via Facebook and social media during the Cambodia’s National Election could leaves Cambodia fragile. Certain internet/ social media users are really keen with online sources and they are impatient to share to their peers what they deem true from them. This activity through this technological word-of-mouth (social media) is even more dangerous than the actual word-of-mouth (face-to-face) in term of accessibility, speed, distance, populations, visual (text, pictures, and video), rooms of discussions, and anonymous identity. These activities yet could ruin the progression of development and national security if the information is not true.

Without proper verification, users fall into tricks of erroneous information created by those who fabricate information for personal or institutional benefits and it even carry chaos to the society.

A case of proceeding the official result of Cambodia’s National Election, there were rumors spreading the victory of particular parties, pictures of the blocking road, picture of army trucks, assumptions on possible civil war, etc. That time, national security was a concern to people and prices of basic food/needs were immediately increased such as instant noodle, rice and gasoline. People were afraid of traveling in the city of Phnom Penh. Some shops/offices/schools were closed: no markets, no works, and no classes. Discussions were raised everywhere and people made different expectations. After that, there was nothing happen, but people waste money, missing school, business errors.

My personal tips to escape from sharing counterfeited information are:

  1. Don’t share if you are doubtful or not sure
  2. Don’t share if it attacks someone (sometimes it could be a serious crime)
  3. Don’t share if the information is not from official page, website…
  4. Don’t share edited materials, pictures or unethical graphic designs
  5. Don’t share if it affects or harmful to national security
  6. Don’t share if it could destroy your reputation
  7. Don’t always want to be the first to share. Check first.
  8. Don’t make opinion into news. Be sure of opinion, information and news.
  9. Don’t believe in any post or status on social media because you can also initiate the story in less than 2 minutes. Take it as a gossip.
  10. Don’t ignore if you find out the shared information is mistaken. Comment or explain the author why it is wrong. What is the right one(s)? Provide reasons and evidences if you can.

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