A shocking report has revealed the man behind fake news online publications to be a Unisa staff member.
William Mahlatse Ramatseba has been named as the guilty party – creator of social media account, @Mzansistories, and other corrupt websites.
Following a lengthy investigation, it was established that Ramatseba works at the University’s Sunnyside campus as an office administrator.
Briefly.co.za understands his sister, Grace, is an accomplice and the pair utilise Facebook groups to distribute the false stories.
A classic example was linked to the infamous Dros sexual assault case.
Soon after news of the story broke, their twitter account shared a tweet which featured a picture of a black man’s face alongside that of a crying white girl.
The caption read, "Meet a man who assaulted a 6 years old girl at Dros silverton, Pretora in man's toilet."
The implication was clear – a specific black man was guilty of the hideous crime.
Eventually, images of the real suspect emerged and the tweet was removed.
Sadly, the damage had already been done with South Africans questioning the credibility of the South African media.
Mzansistories.com, another website owned by the unscrupulous siblings, escalated the situation by publishing further false stories.
These stories eat at the very fabric of journalism and News 24 are credited with the investigation to reveal Ramatseba’s identity and scope of deception.
Anim van Wyk, Africa Check’s chief editor stated, "The long-term danger of online disinformation is the erosion of trust. Instead of critically appraising news, people start disbelieving everything they read. Traditional media, for all its faults, gets lumped into the same basket as the disinformation sites, though it has accountability structures - unlike these unscrupulous sites.”
The motive behind the deception boils down to money.
Using digital tools, such as Google Ads and MGID, these publications link ads to their websites.
The actual advertisers are none the wiser.
The amount of web traffic the fake stories generate turns into income, thanks to the automated ads.
News 24 lodged a formal PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) request and UNISA confirmed the details of Ramatseba.
Ramatseba has not responded to the allegations as yet and has avoided all forms of contact since the news was revealed.
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY’s news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!