How can we be more mindful of social media misuse?

The government has warned social media users and publishers that reporting or sharing false information in the form of fake news reports or altered images will damage the country’s reputation as well as violating the law and human rights. However, some netizens are ignoring the warning and continue to post false information. Vientiane Times asked members of the public for their thoughts on the matter.


MrBounthan, an official in Xaythany district, Vientiane: False reporting can reflect badly on Laos and give the wrong impression about the situation here. As we know, social media has both positive and negative aspects and we need to be very careful when reading reports. We should consider the information carefully and try to decide if it’s true or not before sharing it with other people. If it’s false, we shouldn’t pass it on. It’s good that state-run media has taken up the issue and is actively working to ensure that only accurate reports are delivered. The reporting and sharing of fake news and photos breaches the professional ethics of journalists so they should be sure to act responsibility when reporting.

MsKhaedNinthavong, a student at Comcenter College: Social media is easy to access and it takes no time at all to post and share information. But reports can be true or false. Untrue reports cause distress and confusion. I have heard the warnings from the authorities and have been troubled by conflicting reports on social media but now I realise that these are mostly fake. So now I’m aware of this matter and am careful when reading news online, particularly anything that appears on Facebook and similar platforms. All social media users should be very careful when reading anything posted online. We should trust only news published by official media agencies.

MrSipaserth, a resident of LuangPrabang province: It’s disturbing that there are some people and online sites that give out inaccurate information. I’m concerned about this issue and am also very careful. I think it’s essential to stop the reporting and distribution of false news online. I know that the authorities have warned that false reports distort the truth and violate the law. The law should be enforced to put a stop to this problem. Everyone who knows about the warning should pass on the message to those who don’t know, and people shouldn’t violate the law in this way.
MrBounnam, a resident of Hadxaifong district, Vientiane: Social media today is a lot like a big warehouse where you can go to trade ideas and information as well as meet new people. While there are advantages, there are also disadvantages. Everyone needs to be aware of the risks involved in sharing information online. I would like to call on everyone, especially social media followers, to heed only accurate reports and photos published by state-run newspapers, radio and television. Social media users should be aware of the issues and read posts with a critical eye, while those who issue fake reports should be penalised under the law.

Ms Tee, a resident of Xaythany district, Vientiane: I don’t know very much about this issue. I use social media to contact my friends but not to post or share anything. I think it would be good if everyone understood the potential harm that can occur online. People need to know how to protect their information and interpret what they see on social media. We need to be very careful how we use social media and the internet. We shouldn’t post or share anything if we don’t know the details or the full story. False reports and images can violate human rights and are in breach of the law. We should also make sure we don’t abuse personal information.

By LamphonePasanthong
(Latest Update March 14, 2019)

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