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Opinions of Sunday, 2 April 2017

Columnist: dailyguideafrica.com

Social media lynching at its worst

The fake report of the death of prominent personalities is on the ascendancy, courtesy social media. For those who seek to kill social media there could not have been a better point to stand on.

Most, if not all, political leaders in the country have been reported dead at one time or the other by an identifiable social media site notorious for the absurdity.

As for President Akufo-Addo and his Nigerian counterpart President Muhammadu Buhari they appear to lead the chart of the fake deaths – the motive behind which only those behind the mischievous enterprise can best tell.

A few days it was Jerry John Rawlings turn following in the heels of former President J A Kufuor and his wife. Even Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings tasted the nonsense.

Their nefarious pastime has been described by some as Social Media Lynching, a crude obsession with spreading false information about the death of prominent personalities in society.

We could not agree anymore with the description but would be quick to add that as a negative development, relevant regulators should seek an immediate means of addressing this and other unwholesome fallouts from social media abuse.

It would not be long before we see the social media sadists spreading news about an invasion by aliens from a strange planet. The fear and panic that such a lie can exact on people can only be conjectured.

The benefits of social media are enormous and these we must exploit to our advantage not the contrary. If we fold our arms and allow such evil tendencies to gain a foothold in the country’s social media space, if we have not reached there already, the future outlook would be worrying.

Perhaps it is time those relevant agencies start programmes to sensitize people about the negative use to which social media is being put and the effects of these on our wellbeing.

In the political realm, such manipulations have contributed enormously to the sorry state of politics in the country: they are used to malign the integrity of otherwise fine ladies and gentlemen just because these persons have offered themselves to serve their compatriots in the political realm. Little wonder, politics, in spite of the seeming number of persons seeking political appointments, remains restricted.

We cannot accept it when social media is manipulated to surreptitiously gain undue political advantage by persons who do not see any moral challenges posed by the abuse.

It is inappropriate conduct when lies are spewed about political opponents using social media today. We should come together as one people and consider dispassionately the drawbacks of such misuse of social media so that its full benefits would accrue to us.

The positive changes that we are yearning for in Ghana would not be realized if we continue to ignore the critical moves of our society in our application of novelties such as social media. We cannot ask for the elimination or marginalization of social media due to the advantages because it is a trendy development which we subdue to our disadvantage. When we, however, abuse it we could be pushing our country to the brink unfortunately.