South Africa: Public Urged to Be Cautious When Sharing Info On Social Media

30 September 2020

The police have urged the public to exercise caution when sharing unconfirmed crime-related information on social media.

This comes after a video of a bogus kidnapping in Klerksdorp went viral on social media platforms, particularly on WhatsApp.

"A preliminary investigation was conducted after police management in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District became aware of the video. It showed that no such incident was reported in Klerksdorp," the provincial police spokesperson, Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone, said.

The police believe that the video was staged to spark 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 alleged kidnapping incidents for human trafficking purposes.

"However, it turned out that no cases were reported to the police either in Mmabatho or Mahikeng, where the purported incidents took place," said Mokgwabone.

The North West Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, has appealed for the responsible use of social media platforms.

He has since requested users to verify the legitimacy of crime-related videos and voice notes with the police before forwarding them, as some may be false and contribute towards the spread of fake information.

Kwena encouraged the public to report any suspected criminal activity to the police for investigation.

The police in Gauteng recently cautioned against the peddling of fake stories about human trafficking or the kidnapping of women and children.

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