By INIGO ‘NAUGHTY’ ZENICAZELAYA
I’M convinced that the internet has more “fake news” spreaders and “conspiracy theorists” per capita here in The Bahamas than anywhere else in the world.
Bahamians are subjected to alarming amounts of “fake news” and “conspiracy theories” daily on social media, our blind consumption and regurgitation rate of said “fake news” and “conspiracy theories” is even more concerning.
A perfect example was this week’s local dose of “fake news” – you know the story that was circulating, with bold claims by the Speaker of the House Halston Moultrie and echoed somewhat by the leader of the Opposition PLP, Philip “Brave” Davis, that the general elections would be called and “the bell” rung on Tuesday... still waiting on that one.
(It’s a good thing we didn’t hold our collective breaths).
The resulting hysteria and irresponsible political finger-pointing left in the wake of this piece of “fake news” still has political pundits’ tongues wagging and various frenzied political party supporters, from all parts of the political divide coming out of the woodwork, “slapping up” vehemently in every political Whats App Chat group in the country.
As a matter of fact, I just checked in on several chat groups and the debates are still raging in regards to the above mentioned “fake news”.
If that wasn’t bad enough, as the week progressed I noticed a local trend developing on social media, more and more Bahamians were sharing international “fake news” stories.
One must now ask the question.
Have we become addicted as a society to “fake news” and “conspiracy theories” on social media?
I’m still doing my research in that regard.
However, here is one of the hot international “fake news” items and “conspiracy theories” that had Bahamians in deep debates, feverishly copying, pasting and sharing away all over social media.
Debunking and endorsing with the best news analysts in the business.
THE FAKE: A photo of a man lying on the pavement in blue pants covered in blood showing Haitian President Jovenel Mose after his assassination.
THE FACT: The photo has been circulating online since August 2020 and shows a slain lawyer, not the assassinated president. As news broke of Mose’s assassination, the Haitian diaspora began circulating the old photo on WhatsApp as proof of the 53-year-old president’s death.
The photo in actuality is from the August 29, 2020, killing of Monferrier Dorval, a prominent lawyer who was shot outside his home.
Dorval was head of the bar association in the capital of Haiti.
During a September 2020 protest demanding justice for Dorval, an AP photographer captured a protester re-enacting the lawyer’s death.
The protester placed graphic photos of a dead Dorval on the top of his body during the re-enactment. The photo used by the protester matched the photo that went viral on social media.
The “fake’’ photo was also shared in Spain online.
Mose had denounced Dorval’s killing, calling it a “great loss for the country”.
Until next week Bahamas, I have two words for you. “Fact Check” the face you save from embarrassment may be your very own.