10 May 2016
TODAY we have yet another hoax circulating on social media. And once again, the effects of that hoax are detrimental to the reputation of many people and organisations.
The benefits to whoever is circulating the hoax are non-existent, yet people continue to circulate rumours like truth and todayâ€™s story is even on the internet written as a matter of fact on several news sites.
That is the danger of circulating falsehoods, many gullible minds will perceive them as truth and the damage to reputations can seldom be undone.
In todayâ€™s story, we have a big companyâ€™s reputation being splattered by mud by being accused of having a top employee who poses nude.
The pictures and the damage to Telecelâ€™s reputation have gone viral but stories with the truth as published in todayâ€™s paper, may not reach as many people.
All these falsehoods that circulate on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media forums are dangerous.
Not so long ago, a WhatsApp hoax circulated claiming that 59 Bonda Mission students died when a bus that was carrying them crashed near Macheke, went viral.
Although Police were quick to dismiss the reports many people were affected by the false message.
As the National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said, the law must take its course on anyone who will be found causing alarm through the circulation of unfounded and false messages.
Musician Jah Prayzah once spent a whole weekend combating a false rumour that he had died in a road accident following a false Facebook post where someone claimed that he had died on the spot in an accident.
Besides his personal life, the artiste can also suffer loss of business on the basis that corporates and people presume him dead.
Besides the fake Jah Prayzah death, there have also been fake outbreaks of ebola, fake mermaids found at Lake Chivero and many other non-events caused by mischievous people who think peddling lies is funny.
It is dangerous for people to spread lies through social media as this can not only destroy the images of other people or organisations but also land them in trouble.
We also once published a story of a false message that was circulating on WhatsApp alleging that one of the Munhenzva buses was intercepted while trying to smuggle two dead bodies at the Beitbridge Border Post in what was a clear indication that someone wants to ruin the image of Munhenzva.
Such a smear campaign is very harmful even after the report has been certified false.
It is illegal to forward messages that are potentially harmful to someoneâ€™s reputation without verifying if they are true.
â€œHarmful gossip is like mud thrown on a wall, it may not stick, but it always leaves a dirty mark,â€ it will take ages for everyone who got the false message to be told and convinced that the smear message was a lie.