THE DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA
(OR "LOSE TALK COSTS LIVES")
(OR "LOSE TALK COSTS LIVES")
I really love social media, well most of it. There are exceptions like Facebook, which I loathe with a passion, but overall I think it's a pretty cool thing. If it hadn't been for social media, I would never have made amazing friends, worked for an amazing charity and met some throughly nice people.
I love Twitter, especially as it gives me a chance to express my opinions, something I'm not ordinarily allowed to do much for fear of being shut down. It also gives me the chance to let off steam at people who deserve to be called out on their behaviour, whereas you would feel bad doing that to their face. For example, could you imagine telling Donald Trump to his face, that he is a disgrace to the United States. Scary, eh? Especially, for a journalist as he seems to have a deep hatred for the media. But on Twitter no problem at all. I have called him out many times for his behaviour and it was completely deserved.
However, social media (I'll focus on Twitter because that is my main social media site) is not always a good thing. It can be used to promote very, very bad things. But there is one other thing it does that drives me completely insane.
Every time an incident of some sort happens nowadays (most recently a fight that broke out in a tube station), people instantly jump up and start spreading nonsense on Twitter. Saying things like, "I bet it was terrorism", or "I bet it was the Muslims again", or worse we have the "This is a false flag/crisis actor" nutters. And then, as if that wasn't enough, we have bigots and gobshites like Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins who can't wait to shove their racist tupenny worth in. None of this is constructive, nor is it sensible and it can, in fact be downright dangerous.
In World War II there was a saying, "Careless talk cost lives". It is as true today as it was then, if not more so. In this age of uncertainty and global terrorism, we have to be very careful what we say and how we say it. We should not be blabbing stuff all over social media that is either false, racist or both. This applies to journalists and non-journalists alike.
As Bill Neely once said, "False words, inaccurate words....can be very dangerous!" and "Words can kill. If you're standing on a street corner and you say, 'This ethnic group was responsible for this' and it's broadcast, it could be that, a few hours later, you are responsible for someone's death! Because someone has heard you..or these days read your tweet and then taken action".
This is so important and to me is just plain common sense. Do not say things you can't verify, without admitting you can't, don't spread rumours that this group/person was responsible, or this was such-and-such a device when you have no idea. And as to the false flag nutters, well my feelings about them are very clear there: STAY QUIET!
Wait for confirmation from official sources, namely the police before saying anything.
Remember, careless talk costs lives. Or as they say in lovely Northern Ireland:
"Whatever you say, SAY NOTHING".
|Even more true today than it was in WWII|