EThekwini Secure and its affiliates notes with concern the number of unwarranted alerts disseminated on various social media platforms on xenophobic attacks, including WhatsApp and Facebook. These messages either note that attacks were underway or are imminent.

Picture taken at one of the xenophobic attacks in Johanesburg Photo credit: Pics above and below – Internet

In the last few days, since fear of xenophobic attacks and unrest came to the fore, eThekwini Secure worked closely with various community police forums to correct the misinformation flooding the groups, in an attempt to correct it.

The organisation’s chairperson, Imtiaz Syed said that this high level of misinformation caused undue panic within communities. He said one example was last week’s controlled protest march in the Durban central business district. “WhatsApp groups were replete with updates saying that foreign nationals were being attacked in the CBD. This was not true, resulting in unnecessary panic,” said Syed.

Picture taken at one of the xenophobic attacks in Johanesburg Photo credit: Pics above and below – Internet

He said that all social media platforms under the eThekwini Secure watch advised its administrators to send out broadcasts to subscribers, encouraging them to make an attempt to verify the information or that they desist.

Said Syed: “We advise that you are welcome to contact our admins to check on the information first so that it can be verified. This helps with getting the most correct and accurate details out to the greater public. As you well know when something is broadcast on social media, it barely takes minutes for it to spread. Please be mindful on sharing the information at your disposal. We do not want to create undue panic and paranoia.”