Saturday, 16 Dec 2017

Consequences of rumors

Updated at Tuesday, 08 Aug 2017, 11:02
The Hanoitimes - The social media is gigantic source of information. Users of social media have an intimate demand to share as well as to express emotions and thoughts.
However, the thirst for information can bring many severe consequences. Some recent stories on the social media are important lessons to be looked into.
Rumors are different from hearsay. Hearsay is information received from other people that is true but often added and spread around the public. Each person has his or her own views, so he or she often adds more details to the story. However, rumors’ origin is not traceable, and the accuracy of rumors is doubtful. Usually, rumors consist of negative connotations without any foundations for trust. However, recently on social media,  nicknames thought to be reliable source of hearsay starts to spread unfounded rumors.

Last  July, a story went viral on Facebook on a dog thief without precise location or names. As the result, every one is suspicious, any stranger is a potential dog thief.  The same suspicion was generated by the unfounded story of children kidnapping.  Two unfortunate women selling toothpick were beaten out of suspicion of kidnapping children in Soc Son district of Hanoi.  Le Thi B. (born in 1977 at Le Thanh commune, My Duc district, Hanoi) and Nguyen Thi P (52 years old, Son Con commune, Ung Hoa district, Hanoi) are members of cooperative of My Duc district. They went to Mai Dinh commune to sell toothpick. However, when they came to Thai Phu village, they went to a quiet house and saw a child playing in the yard. They called the child to ask where his family was to sell toothpick, but then were misunderstood as kidnappers. As a result, people chased after them and beat the two women. Some people recorded the beating and uploaded on the social media. The video was  spreading out rapidly on private and group pages and won a huge number of “likes” by  social media users, who  at that time, did not know  the exact story but already clicked “like” or shared clips.
In addition, a Facebook account of Ms. Pham Thi M. (27 years old, residing in Kim Giang, Thanh Xuan, Hanoi with registered residential address at Nho Quang, Ninh Binh) updated on her private Facebook page news about an airplane cashing in Noi Bai International Airport. Immediately, her post was shared to various big forums, but in reality, Vietnam Airlines did not have any airplanes crashing on that day. The Hanoi Police had to investigate the information from  Pham Thi M. In the end, the information was  a rumor. Pham Thi M. would have to face an administrative penalty or may be subject to criminal prosecution for the act of “providing, exchanging, transmitting or storing and using digital information to intimidate or harass. Misleading, distorting, slandering and offending the prestige of an organization, and honor, dignity and prestige of others” under the Article 66 of Decree No. 174/2013/ND-CP.
Social media is widespread with an enormous amount of information that provides users with many great benefits. However, the consequences of social media  rumors have had a great impact on the psychological life, political security and social order. Notably, in the modern world, users have to know to selectively share information to social media to develop a sense of social responsibility. Quick  news is not always accurate, and news supposed to be reliable is not always right.
Nguyen Tung - Duy Thong
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