Misinformation can have grave repercussions

LETTERS: Recently, a video of a woman, who thought the bottles of spices she found on the shelves of a grocer contained pork, went viral.

What she did not realise was that the label she shared actually explained how the spices could be used for various types of meat, including pork.

This is how easy it is to be misinformed. Misreading a label and leaving out certain information may happen often.

To me, the woman was trying to be a responsible consumer by warning her Muslim followers about the contents of spices.

However, a careful reading of the label or verification of information through a simple Google search could have given the answer and prevented this oversight.

Once the wrong information has been shared, it may have certain repercussions, including a boycott of the product, criticism of the grocer's alleged lack of sensitivity to Muslim customers or the woman herself being trolled by netizens. Or worse.

In Iran, more than 700 people died of methanol poisoning because they believed viral information that claimed that it could cure Covid-19.

In India, a few men were killed by villagers who believed that they were kidnappers.

The spread of misinformation as minute as the contents of spices shows the need for awareness of how the people must be more vigilant and critical when they receive information via social media and mainstream media.

More importantly, before sharing any information online, assess what you intend to share and how it may affect you as a person and society as a whole.


Media and Information Literacy Expert, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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