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Riots latest: Here’s how to test for fake news and WhatApp lies

Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has urged citizens to use these tips to test posts and stop sharing fake news.

Government department cabinet reshuffle

Photo: GCIS

The South African government has urged all citizens to be aware of what they post and share online to avoid the publication or broadcasting of panic invoking fake news via social media platforms.

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, when briefing the media on the latest developments regarding the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng on Tuesday afternoon, called on citizens “to be circumspect” in what they post and share online. 

“In this most trying period in our democracy there has been a disturbing trend where false information is deliberately circulated to drive a certain agenda. Those who post such fake or false news are intent on creating fear or panic. We cannot and must not allow those with malicious agendas to sow discord and disharmony,” Ntshavheni said.

“Repeatedly in this period there have been cases where people have reposted and shared false or fake news in the form of pictures, videos, news links, public posts or voice notes. Many people have done so unaware that what they have shared is fake, false or downright dangerous. Government calls on everyone to think twice before simply sharing or reposting content you have received,” Ntshavheni said.

Ntshavheni  added that fake or false news is often easy to spot.  A simple Google search on a topic or occurrence will quickly reveal that was has been shared is fake or false. Similarly, a reverse image search on Google will reveal if a picture has been used before. This is an easy way to see if something that has been shared is relevant to a current issue or situation, or is an old image or video that is being used to inflame the current situation. 

Resources such as contain information on spotting fake news, and regularly fact check issues in the communication environment. 

What’s crap on WhatsApp is a handy resource to both identify and report fake or false information shared on WhatsApp. 

“The official government website has all the latest news, speeches and statements about the work of government, as well as headline news. It is a one stop portal for news and information, and has a wealth of additional resources,” she said.

The Real 411 is a resource where you can report four types of digital offences namely, disinformation, hate speech, incitement to violence and journalist harassment. 

Another useful resource is the MySAPS App, which is a free, crime-reporting mobile application available for smart phones on Google Play store and the Apple App store. 

The App allows citizens to interact with law enforcement officials more effectively by: 

• providing tip-offs anonymously through the App 

• finding the nearest police stations and facilities 

• Quick access to all official SAPS Social Media platforms