Who knew fake news was a thing in Jamaica? National Security Minister Robert Montague had to quickly discredit rumours about abductions for organ harvesting in Jamaica. Likes and shares drive traffic, and maybe that’s why these rumours started, but we’re not sure repurposing grotesque and unrelated videos was the best way to make a point.
Panmedia has had our share of fakeness on social media. Whenever we run online competitions and promotions on Facebook, either our own or for our clients, some entrants use 'like' generators to get ahead unfairly.
The recent plastic rice fiasco had similar overtones. After an import ban and extensive testing, there was no confirmation that the samples contained anything but… well, rice. Still, many are sure fake rice snuck its way into Jamaica (See this link if you’re curious about similar tales elsewhere).
Fake cigarettes have long flooded our market although they may contain animal droppings, sawdust and even more lethal chemicals than the genuine ones. So quality control is a common concern these days.
Fake news is a hot topic in the United States right now. Many believe it swayed their 2016 presidential election. Facebook is flooded with fake news used to drive traffic to websites for ad revenue, possibly for social engineering, and to increase engagement on social media pages.
Jamaicans have no problem with fakes, if we are talking clothes and accessories. In any town centre we can find knock-off designer items to enhance our style. But does that appetite extend to fake news? We’re not sure. But we will advise a little discretion when a tantalizing news item presents itself to be shared. A nuh every’ting good fi’ eat good fi talk.