A fake message has been making rounds on Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp and disrupting the lives of normal citizens in Lahore. The message is fake and there is no authenticity to the claims made in it.
Apparently, someone started this fake threat alert on social media and everyone started sharing it with their family and friends on social media and WhatsApp. The message warns citizens to avoid rushy areas as they are zones for terrorist attack zones.
High Security Alert in Lahore.
Security level Red be implemented as 10 to 12 Terrorists have entered Lahore cantt area, expected area of execution is Mall of Lahore surrounding cantt , Fortress, DHA markets. Allama Iqbal airport, Ghazi road & Main market high alert,
— Abdul Rehman (@abdulrehman4433) July 19, 2018
Although, WhatsApp has recently launched some features which can help identify fake messages through ‘forward’ labels yet this rumor increases panic among citizens because usually authentic information is also forwarded and broadcasted through social media channels. WhatsApp has also advertised in leading newspaper of Pakistan regarding how to spot fake messages.
Today, ISPR denied issuing any such threat to the citizens of Pakistan. TechJuice researched itself and found that messages with the exact same content were also spreading in the last year. So, there is a certain group of social media which wants to increase panic right before the elections.
The reason why fake messages spread so quickly in Pakistan is no one tries to verify the news source before forwarding the message. Everyone tries to inform their circle in goodwill but they do not know that such threats can lead to restlessness and panic in the country and might lead to some dreadful situation.
Here’s how you can spot a fake message:
Back in the days, we just had radio, PTV or a few newspapers as the authentic source of information. Hence it was difficult to spread rumors.
When you receive any message that seems like a serious threat, try to confirm the news from the relevant source. For example, in yesterday’s case the message was ‘apparently’ from ISPR. So you could have visited their website and official social media accounts.
Before believing the message to be true, try to analyze the message yourself. You will be able to spot if it can be true or not. Also, we can easily find out the authenticity of the message if you take into account the contact who has sent us the message. We know who amongst our friends and colleagues just randomly forwards the messages and is into copy-pasting the statuses without confirming the authenticity.
Respond to the message and ask your friend or colleague where did they get the message from. If they tell you, they just read it somewhere online, then you know what to do, do not believe them.
So, guys next time, if you come across a hilarious meme share by all means without a second thought but if it is a critical information, do not spread unless you have done some fact-checking.