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ZOM-IN MCO Stories #3 — Old People Vs. Fake News on WhatsApp



  April 30, 2020

I have been staying with my grandaunt since I started my internship in Selangor. She is a very caring and respectful elder. During this MCO, she rarely interrupts me during the daytime to ensure I can focus on my job while working from home. 


One day, she suddenly came to me and told me nervously that we need to go to the supermarket immediately. Her actions puzzled me because I just did our groceries on the weekend, we still have enough food for at least two weeks. 


Feeling my hesitation, she showed me her phone screen. Apparently, she received a circulated message saying all the shelves in supermarkets were stripped bare because our country was facing a shortage in food supply. 


I calmed her down and started to Google about the situation. The search results showed that everything was fine and those emptied shelves were old photos. 


The authorities and many organizations have appealed to the public not to simply trust and spread unverified news and rumours on social media platforms. We must be responsible for the information that we are sharing and always fact-check before you forward a piece of information. 


People make decisions based on the information they received. If the information we saw on the Web is invented, false, exaggerated or distorted, we won’t make good decisions. False information can cause fears, racist ideas, violence against innocent people and even negative health impacts. Furthermore, the PDRM and MCMC have warned the public that stern actions will be taken against irresponsible parties who spread fake contents or news or rumours on the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).  


On the other hand, we must understand that elders tend to believe in the messages they received on WhatsApp easily because those messages are usually sent by their close friends or relatives. 


Therefore, we should constantly talk to our parents, grandparents and other elders to ensure they are not manipulated by unverified news by unknown third parties. Explain to them patiently how to determine the trustability of information and share with them trusted platforms to obtain verified news and information about the COVID-19. 



“ZOM-IN MCO Stories” is an internal initiative from ZOM-IN to share what we’ve observed, experienced, and learned during the Movement Control Order.


If you have stories to tell, you could send it to us via our social media channels or email to admin@zom-in.com.


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