South Africa: Police Appeal for Responsible Use of Social Media

press release

The Provincial Commissioner of North West, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena would like to urge members of the community to exercise caution when sharing unconfirmed crime-related information on social media platforms.

This follows a video that went viral on social media platforms, particularly WhatsApp about an alleged kidnapping incident in Klerksdorp. Preliminary investigation conducted after police management in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District became aware of the video, showed that no such incident was reported in Klerksdorp. Furthermore, it is also apparent that the video was staged to cause fear among members of the public. In the same breath, voice notes with false and unsubstantiated information were over the weekend shared on social media platforms about the alleged kidnapping incidents for human trafficking purposes. However, it turned out that no cases were reported the police either in Mmabatho or Mahikeng where the purported incidents took place.

As a result, the Provincial Commissioner is appealing for responsible use of social media platforms and requests users to as far as possible, verify legitimacy of crime related videos and voice notes with the police before forwarding them as some may be found to be untruthful and contributing to the spread of false information. In conclusion, he encouraged the public to report any suspected criminal activity to the police for investigation.

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