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How can we avoid falling prey to fake news on social media?

During the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a lot of fake news which creates misunderstanding and confusion among the general public. Vientiane Times asked for opinions on this issue and the problems it creates.

 

Mr Bounthieng Phanavanh, a resident of Xaythany district, Vientiane: When I log in to Facebook every day I see a lot of news. Some of it is true and some is fake. A lot of fake news is posted and shared on Facebook without consideration for others, which causes distress and annoyance. I advise people to carefully consider everything they read before sharing it because it may be something that creates panic. I’d like the government to set up a special body to check the sources of false rumours and to arrest people who post fake news. This would ensure they don’t do the same thing again. I also advise everyone to read and share news sourced from the government, ministries and official organisations. They shouldn’t share items from users who may have a large number of followers but don’t have any authority.

Mr Khamsouk Phousavath, a resident of Luang Prabang province: In the current situation, we are all very sensitive to the news and can be disturbed by news or brought together by it, depending on the nature of the information. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have seen some Facebook pages and users post fake news about the number of people being infected each day, which creates unnecessary alarm. In fact, this news hasn’t been checked and does not have the backing of the government. It is just fake news which some people thought it would be fun to make public and cause a disturbance. I would like to see more being done to remove fake news from social media. I also advise everyone to consider everything before they share it, because it could put them in a difficult situation.

Ms Koung Syinsan, an employee in Vientiane: I read the news
on social media but sometimes what I read doesn’t reflect the
true situation. News is widely spread on social media because many people share it without thinking. I always check up on what I read to see
whether it comes from a trustworthy source. To avoid fake news,
people should rely solely on official sites.

Ms Davan Vivongsa, a resident of Luang Prabang province: There is a lot of fake news on Facebook, even from unbelievable channels. It is hard to avoid fake news on social media because so many people follow posts on this platform. We should only trust news from official sources and should carefully consider everything we read. I would like the government to introduce measures to control the posting of fake news and encourage users of social media to stop liking and sharing things that might be untrue.  In particular, action should be taken against those who post things that undermine the leadership of the Party. 

Mr Keothavone, an official in Khammuan province: There are many sources of news on social media. Some Facebook users seize the opportunity to publish fake news just so they can get more likes and shares from other users, especially new users and youngsters. Unfortunately this encourages people to trust fake news and share it with other social media applications. Someone got fired from a job because he liked and shared fake news. Everyone should carefully check what they read to block out fake news. I would like the government to fine people and impose other penalties on those who deliberately spread misinformation.


 

By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update April 22, 2021)


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