SAPS press release: Appeal to public to use social media responsibly

SAPS press release: Appeal to public to use social media responsibly

- Lieutenant General Sello Kwena has issued a press release asking citizens to be mindful of what they share on social media platforms

- The statement makes reference to a rise in fake video and voicenotes masquerading as information about crimes and criminals

- The release follows after two incidents of false information came to police attention over the weekend which both turned out to have been illegitimate

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The office of the Provincial Commissioner of North West has issued a press release following a series of falsified incidents that had been circulated through social media applications.

Lieutenant General Sello Kwena has urged members of the public to exercise caution when sharing information via social media platforms. He is specifically referring to potential but unconfirmed information regarding criminal actions or activity.

The announcement is the police service's solution to multiple incidents of unverified and illegitimate material being shared online that appeared to be crime-related. The videos and voicenotes were investigated and police discovered that they were doctored or untrue and designed specifically to cause panic and incite fear.

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SAPS issue press release: Appealed to the public to use social media responsibly
Fake news has become much more of an issue with the advent of technology in the 21st century. Images: Bheki Cele, Khehla Sithole. Source: Getty Images
Source: Original

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The statement acknowledged two instances that transpired over the weekend. One described how video footage of an apparent kidnapping was sent around over WhatsApp. The video's events were supposed to have taken place near Klerksdorp, but upon investigation the Klerksdorp police found that no such incident had been reported as well as the fact that the video had been created to scare members of the public and cause panic.

The second instance related to voicenotes that were circulated and purporting to contain information around the issues of the alleged kidnapping and its supposed ties to human trafficking. Similarly, upon investigation, police discovered no legitimacy to the claims made in the voicenotes, nor were there any issues reported to stations in Mmabatho or Mahikeng, the places to which the voicenotes had referred.

As a result of a rise in false information being spread due to social media, the South African Police Service implored the public to, as far as possible, verify anything they receive before sending it to others. Lieutenant General Kwela's statement also asked that if there was any suspicion of criminal activity, that citizens report it directly to the police.

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In international news, reported on the presidential debate in which democratic nominee, Joe Biden, clashed with sitting American president, Donald Trump.

The first meeting of the two men was hotly-anticipated but unfortunately did not achieve much in terms of focusing on the potential implementation of policies and political change. The debate between the two candidates devolved into a series of mud-slinging, name-calling and general chaos as moderator, Chris Wallace, attempted to regain control.

The elections in the United States are currently set for November 3rd of this year.

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