Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Think before you Link

Information spreads like wildfire. Irrespective of whether it is right or wrong or verified or not, people just post, email, text anything they read. This actually goes a long way back. When in India too, I would invariably receive 1 text at least everyday asking to contact some number if our blood group was so&so type and also more importantly to forward the message to help save a poor life. I do not even know if anyone, even ones who probably belonged to the required blood group, tried calling those numbers. I tried calling those numbers every time, just to check the authenticity and not a single time did the number turn out to be valid. INVALID every SINGLE time!!!

What really cracked me up was this:

“This October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays all in one month. It happens only once in 823 years.”

That October, scores of people on my Facebook shared this status message, and not once without even thinking about i for a minute. Instead of getting to the nitty-gritty details, I would say read this blog ashe has already expressed it amazingly well:

These are instances that we just pass on because we think it is interesting and cool and like in the SMS case, we care about someone else and although these bits of information are wrong, they do not particularly harm anyone.

But last night, I saw quite a few status messages about a BBC NEWSFLASH, saying this:

BBC FLASHNEWS: Japan government confirms radiation leak at Fukushima nuclear plants. Asia countries should take necessary precautions. If rain comes, remain indoors first 24hrs. Close doors & windows. Swab neclskin with betadine where thyroid area is, radiation hits thyroid first. Take extra precautions. Radiation may hit Phil at starting 4pm today. Pls send to your loved ones.

Well now, this is serious. This is scary. The world, especially Japan is already in a state of Panic. And people tend to believe it. People tend to pass this information on. But what they forget to do is think about what they are reading, analyse it, check its authenticity. This hoax message passing around I am sure caused a lot of unwarranted panic amongst a lot of people. Firstly, it is very irresponsible of people adding to the existing panic by generating such false news. And secondly, it is again irresponsible to share it and spread the Panic. The Government of Phillipines had to release an official notice to calm the people. This is a whole lot of unnecessary business that happened and just got me ranting off and leaving with a hopeful note that people will verify facts before passing them on in the future.

1 comment:

Benkiman said...

That is why it is said rumours said faster than wild fire! It is human nature and you can't do anything about it. It is upto the individual to use his brain and make suitable judgements. Mischief mongers can never be prevented from doing such stuff.