Got a shared video today via WhatsApp (as one does); security cam footage shows the inside of a barbershop, patrons having their haircuts.
Two gunmen enter, ten shots are fired into the head of a customer, they flee the scene.
“This jst happened in Umhlanga” said the forwarder.
Within minutes, I can see this is going viral. It’s popping up on people’s WhatsApp status messages. Meanwhile, I’m checking it out because forwarding videos without fact-checking is something I try not to do.
Sure enough, this is not Umhlanga, Durban, today. This is Gothenburg, Sweden, 17 July 2021 .
I tell one acquaintance of mine who has shared the video on her status that this is Sweden.
[10:23 pm, 06/04/2022]: “That happened in umhlanga today”
[10:23 pm, 06/04/2022]: “I live in umhlanga mr Pillay”
“No. Sweden. It’s fake news,” I say, and send her the links.
[10:33 pm, 06/04/2022]: “Thank you I was literally scared to leave home”
[10:33 pm, 06/04/2022]: “I took it down”
Look guys, I get it, we live in a country with appallingly high levels of crime. Just today, my neighbour had a home invasion. It’s friggin’ terrifying.
But people are going to take advantage of that and use you to spread disinformation because it suits their agenda.
Don’t outsource your thinking to the media, social or mainstream.
Don’t do that.