Awareness programs and fact-checking must be prioritized
Over the last two weeks, communal violence has gripped the country, and our minorities have been systematically targeted. While there have been several factors that have contributed to this unrest, there is no doubt that misinformation on social media has been a significant factor in fanning the flames and exacerbating the situation.
To that end, it is imperative that there is more awareness created with respect to navigating social media, and this is precisely what was discussed in the recent webinar titled "Fake News on Social Media: Challenges and Things to Do" which was organized by the National Committee on Cyber Security Awareness Month (CAM) 2021 in partnership with Dhaka Tribune.
With more people getting their news from social media, often with no verification of the facts that appear, and with nefarious parties for monetary gain or just to create unrest, taking advantage of social media platforms to spread disinformation, the authorities concerned must come up with solutions to tackle this growing problem.
This starts with empowering the media and offering them incentives to be front and centre; it is the gradual culling of a free press that has resulted in these false social media sites to replace and fill the vacuum with their disinformation and false stories. Furthermore, the media also have a role to play in verifying all information before publishing.
On a larger scale, awareness programs and fact-checking must also be prioritized, so that people know of the misinformation that contributes to bringing instability to society as a whole.
To this end, only a concerted effort, where all parties recognize the magnitude of this issue, will bring about the positive change required to put an end to this growing culture of misinformation.