EDITORIAL : Are We That Gullible to Believe Everything We Read or Hear on Social Media?

THE answer to this question may seem quite obvious but believe it or not, many among us wouldn’t hesitate to share anything and everything we read or hear on social media. While we pride ourselves as a community who live in a middle-upper class neighbourhood, our behavioural patterns are no better than anyone living outside our boundaries.

Let’s get down to ask the question – do you finish reading the message that was sent to you or do you just read the first three paragraphs and press the forward button to share it with your friends? Do you even pause to ask if the information in the message makes sense or whether the information is accurate and not outdated?

In recent times, I have personally received on my Whatsapp messages which are old news rehashed and resent to look like they are genuine. Just last week, we received a message purportedly reporting that there was a bus crash in the highlands; and another message claiming that Penang had its first case of coronavirus. At first instance, we asked ourselves is this true or false information? A quick check online from reliable news sources came out empty; confirming our suspicion about the authenticity of the news.

The problem I believe lies in the fact that we like sensational news and never take the time or trouble to verify anything just because it sounds so exciting and real. We race to send it out because we think we are doing everyone good service. But haste and speed kills; and in this case contributes to the numerous fake and inaccurate news we receive day and night.

So what do we do to tackle this? ADUN Subang Jaya Michelle Ng has outlined some tips on how to handle and verify messages you receive before you click the forward button. Check out her jottings on Page 10.

Our Facebook Page – SJEcho has taken on the task of updating news on the coronavirus from reliable news sources. Because the coronavirus is of global concern, we decided it would be a good move to share reliable information on the topic. After all, Subang Jaya isn’t isolated from the rest of the country or world. We are also just as exposed to the virus if we are not careful in our day-to-day activities.

We have just stepped into the second month of 2020. I am sure everyone’s all geared up to get back to work right after the Chinese New Year celebrations. But Subang Jaya being Subang Jaya, we will continue to celebrate the Year of the Rat with many community gatherings and celebrations in the weeks to come.

Earlier on in January, many Subang Jaya residents may have noticed that the Community Ambulance service now has a second vehicle plying the routes in the neighbourhood; responding to medical emergencies. This brand new vehicle was sponsored by a generous donor from Petaling Jaya who chose to support the initiative which has attended close to 1,000 cases over the last 1.5 years.  With two vehicles now available to serve the community and trained paramedics to attend to emergencies, we are sure the ambulance will be able to respond rapidly to calls for help.

Here’s wishing everyone a good month ahead. Remember, check your facts before you forward any messages you receive. Don’t regret it when the long arms of the law come knocking on your door for spreading fake news around.