Over the last week, there has been quite a lot of news surrounding the political situation in Zimbabwe. WhatsApp groups have been in overdrive, as people hit the forward button on any and every message received, many-a-time without even verifying the contents of these messages.
As there is an unprecedented amount of coverage on Zimbabwe on social networks and instant messaging platforms at the moment, being able to sift through the noise and know what is true and credible is critical in order to stay sane is of paramount importance.
Are family back home okay? Are they safe? Have people been killed? Will there be a war in Zimbabwe? Is there civil unrest?
Well, for now, the answers to that are ‘yes’, ‘yes’, ‘we don’t know’, ‘no’ and ‘no’.
Things have been happening rather rapidly and it’s kinda difficult to stay up to date with what’s going on. You’ll need some serious filtering skills and Techzim lists a few in order to help you not have a panic attack:
1. Do Not Forward Messages
Part of the problem that is causing the uncertainty is the mass forwarding of “unconfirmed”, “got this from a friend” sort of messages mostly on WhatsApp. As a large amount of Zimbabwe’s internet is driven through WhatsApp, as most users only have what are known as “WhatsApp bundles”, internet access that allows them to access WhatsApp only.
A number of these messages are just sensational and are being pushed to peddle a certain agenda. Not too sure what or whose agenda, but best to keep from being part of the problem by not forwarding these messages without verifying them first.
2. Verify Messages First
Get someone who is on the ground who has information and check with them. Do a one on one request and don’t share in WhatsApp groups. By sharing in a WhatsApp group, all that people do is just hit the share button thus causing the domino effect.
Google search, check on Twitter, Facebook, but do your best to verify a message before passing it on.
As the situation becomes tense and unpredictable, it’s advisable to ask around first before you cause unnecessary panic.
3. Follow Trusted Sources
If you are on Twitter or Facebook, make sure you follow the right, trusted people who are not just out for click-bait and/or traffic but have a reputation to protect. I suggest that one should follow journalists and news publications. These people normally have access to press conferences and people that the ordinary person on the street does not.
An example of such is Techzim’s sister publication Pindula which was doing a live stream of what was on the street this morning. The team will be back again towards knock off time to keep you informed on which roads to use or avoid if any and to check on the actual situation on the ground so as to neutralise fake news.
Yes, things have been happening fast over the last few days and we all want to have the latest ‘dot com’ ( a local reference to knowledge), but make sure that you are adding positively to the conversation and not trying to dose a fire with petrol.
If you have any other methods that you are using to filter through the BS, please share in the comments below, so that we can all be a better-informed people.
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