The ZRP has become the latest in an ever-growing list of organisations to dismiss stories circulating on social media. The national police force released an official statement dismissing stories alleging government official Energy Mutodi was involved in circulating fake banknotes:
The Zimbabwe Republic Police wishes to categorically dismiss social media posts that they held a Press conference on the arrest of occupants of a Toyota Wish vehicle with money allegedly being linked to Honorurable Mutodi or some political party youths.
Police did not hold such a press conference as falsely depicted on social media and any other statement being attributed to the police is totally false.
Whilst this incident in and of itself isn’t a huge deal, I think the more worrying trend is the number of organisations both publicly and privately owned that have had to come out and dispell social media rumours are worrying and I believe this will have a negative impact down the line.
Since October 2018 (a year ago) these are some of the institutions that have come out and denounced falsehoods on social media:
- ZESA – Social Media Claims That Electricity Is Cheaper On The 1st Day Of The Month Are False – 2 November 2019
- Social Media Claims About eRecruitment Portal For Nurses Are Fake Says Minister Of Health – 28 0ctober 2019
- EcoCash Dismisses Fake News About Money In EcoCash Wallets – 2 October 2019
- RBZ Governor Responds To Circulating $10 & $25 Coins Images – 27 September 2019
- Econet Denounces Yo Mix 2GB Giveaway Message as “Fake News” – 12 July
- Mangudya Says “Social Media In This Country Is Full Of Lies” And He’s Now Dealing With ZimBollar – 2 July 2019
- Chief Charumbira Calls For Measures To Control Fake Social Media Accounts – 14 June 2019
- FBC Bank Dismiss Fake News That It Has Been Hacked – 15 February 2019
- Econet: It’s Fake News, Government Has Not Directed Us To Clear Ecocash Balances – 4 February 2019
- Vice President, Chiwenga Says Social Media Is Making The Situation Worse – 11 January 2019
- Econet Is Not Increasing Pricing Of Bundles: Messages Suggesting Otherwise Are Fake News – 9 November 2018
- Social Media Causing Panic Buying Says President Mnangagwa 26 October 2018
- Former Minister Calls For Serious Cyber Laws Because Social Media ‘Rumour Mongering’ Is Resulting In Price Hikes – 10 October 2018
The President, Vice President, government officials, former government officials, public companies, private companies and banks have all come out and cleared up stories from social media.
Why is this important? Because the government has been hinting at regulating social media for a long time now and there have been fears that whatever regulation they implement will be harsh.
The polarization on social media and all the firefighting these companies and institutions -which have lost money and suffered reputational setbacks in some cases-gives the government a perfect opportunity to make the policy as harsh as they can get away with and that’s in the interest of very few people…
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