So, what types of complaints have we received over the last few weeks?
Posted on 20th Apr 2021
One of the classic cases of false information (not quite disinformation, and we’ll explain why) is what is considered to be doctored images. Here we see a real image of a public figure – in this case Police Minister Bheki Cele – which has been slightly manipulated. The image is real, yes, taken from a real event; however, the bottle of beer you see in his hand is false – the original image shows a bottle of water. Whether or not this image may be considered disinformation is arguable, and the information alongside the image could cause a greater threat, depending on the context. In this instance, as a standalone image, it may not constitute disinformation; however, there is still a problem with sharing this type of manipulated image.
Another recent complaint deals with false information that could very well cause real public harm. We have seen many examples of this type of Covid-19 disinformation circulating across platforms over the last few months, and links to many complaints submitted about the wearing of masks and encouraging non-compliance with government Covid-19 regulations. This complaint specifically looks at a message circulating on WhatsApp, claiming that the Canadian government issued a warning that disposable masks were made using an “asbestos-like” substance, and will cause lung cancer if used. This is a classic example of disinformation – false information intentionally created to cause public harm. It has taken real news about action by the Canadian government and uses it to persuade readers that disposable masks cause lung cancer.
Remember, if you come across content on social media that could potentially be hate speech, incitement, harassment or disinformation, report it to Real411. To make it even more simple, download the Real411 mobile app.