businessman looking and screaming at phone on white

KwaZulu-Natal Acting Premier Ravi Pillay has warned citizens not to fall prey to the many fake reports that are currently circulating on social media about attacks on foreign nationals.

Pillay said the South African Police Services (SAPS) had warned that most of the alleged attack messages, videos and pictures circulating are either fake or old.

In a statement on Thursday, he said that apart from incidents involving the torching of trucks, no other incidents had been confirmed to have taken place in the province.

The provincial government has nonetheless been assured by SAPS that they remain on high alert to respond swiftly to any situation.

“KZN has a strong record in strengthening social cohesion. The provincial government urges the people of KwaZulu-Natal to continue to work together for peace and unity. Violence destroys progress, impacts negatively upon the development of humanity as a whole and also retards economic growth,” Pillay said.

Yesterday, the police in Gauteng condemned fake social media posts claiming that 17 children from Lungisani Primary School in Katlehong had been abducted by foreign nationals, labelling it as incitement.

The police said the false stories and visuals on social media only sought to perpetuate intolerance among residents, to instil fear and to stir up further violence and urged social media users to utilise the SAPS social media platforms and website to get factual updates or to verify certain information.

Meanwhile, a protest march organised by people representing the Long Distance Truck Drivers Association had proceeded peacefully in Durban.

Pillay said the provincial government will process all the concerns raised in the memorandum handed over by the truckers.

“We have made it clear as the provincial government that we fully understand the issues that have been raised by both truck drivers and the owners of trucks. That is why we are working closely with various national departments to find an amicable solution.

“We strongly condemn the torching of trucks and we call for the arrest of all those who burn trucks,” the Acting Premier said.

Spotting fake news

The BBC, on its website, describes fake news is news or stories on the internet that are not true.

These can be false stories that are deliberately published or sent around, in order to make people believe something untrue or to get lots of people to visit a website. These are deliberate lies that are put online, even though the person writing them knows that they are made up.

They could also be stories that may have some truth to them, but they are not completely accurate.

If you want to try to make sure that you don’t get caught out by fake news, there a few things you can look out for. Ask yourself:

  • Has the story been reported anywhere else?
  • Is it on the radio, TV or in the newspapers?
  • Have you heard of the organisation that published the story?
  • Does the website where you found the story look genuine? (meaning it doesn’t look like a copycat website that’s designed to look like another genuine website)
  • Does the website address at the very top of the page look real? Is the end of the website something normal like ‘.co.uk‘ or ‘.com’, and not something unusual, like ‘com.co‘?
  • Does the photo or video look normal?
  • Does the story sound believable?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, you might want to check it out a bit more, before spreading the word