Hoaxes propagate faster on social media than the coronavirus does on the streets; you can expect the latter, but what sickness spreads the former?
The hoaxes that this health crisis has spawned could be put down to being bored at being confined within four walls but there are hundreds of thousands of us cooped up in this fashion yet we don’t make up malicious lies and spread them via our Facebook or Whatsapp accounts, do we?
Just as people pass on the Covid-19 virus without realising it, people on social media pass on these hoaxes without realising it, too. Just as you wear a mask and gloves, if you have them, when going to the shops for supplies, social-media users should take precautions too, rather than lazily pressing the share button.
Take the time to investigate the information in a Whatsapp or facebook post – let’s face it, you have bugger all else to do during your confinement, right?
But it is not only a case of passing on a lie; in some cases you are passing on a computer virus that will infect a friend’s computer or smartphone.
Take the case of the video of a group of hospital staff in Granada’s main hospital (PTS) standing, clapping in homage, as the body of a person was wheeled past down the hospital corridor. It was an intimate moment, but one of them shared the video on social media. It didn’t take long for a liar – yes a sick liar – to add a caption saying that they were paying homage to the first member of the medical staff to succumb to the infection.
In truth, it was a hospital worker who had just lost his long battle against a tumour. Why would somebody twist things in this fashion – usurp a loved one’s death? In the end the Head of the hospital had to debunk the video’s message on Twitter but the video is still circulating, hurting the grieving family.
Then there was a recording on Whatsapp about the same hospital where a female doctor said that cancer patients would no longer have surgical operations because the ICU was needed for Covid-19 patients.
Yes, it was a real doctor but she had sent it to a family member after incorrectly overhearing a conversation in the corridor. She didn’t check it out before sending it and before long… it was pinging on hundreds of smartphones. It wasn’t a deliberate hoax, but it was a case of somebody not checking information out before passing it on as gospel. Again, the hospital Head had to put things straight via social media
Some hoaxes, like viruses, mutate, starting off life relatively harmless but along the way they pick up additions and shed inconvenient parts.
But above all there are the malicious sickos that even go so far as to forge official logos etc to give authenticity to their poison – a mentality just a little short of shouting “fire!” in a crowded theatre.
(News/Editorial: Granada, Andalucia)