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Help counter fake news on social media, ZICTA urges journalists

ZAMBIA Information and Communication Technology Authority says it pulled down 2,000 fake Facebook pages that were created in the name of prominent individuals across the country.

And ZICTA says journalists should help counter fake news on social media.

During a media interaction at Cross Roads Lodge on Tuesday night, ZICTA director general Patrick Mutimushi said the 2000 fake Facebook pages were removed in 2019 alone.

“You must understand that a lot of people think even today that they can sit on Facebook and hide, but you can’t hide forever. If you have got a pseudonym, there are ways we use so that we get to the bottom of who this page belongs to and there is quite a lot of work that is happening today and will continue working with other security wings to ensure that some of these things are brought to a minimum,” Mutimushi said.

He said ZICTA wrote to ministries and individuals affected before pulling down fake Facebook pages.

“My appeal to everybody is that; let’s use this social media for the good it was created for. You would agree with me that social media is a very good tool, very good platform that will help to build, bring efficiency and bring all lovely things. Unfortunately, again it has been a platform where there is a whole lot of fake news in there, character assassination, people are using it for extortion, people are using it to defraud others and so on but believe you me, there is nothing that one will do and hide completely because there are ways of making sure that some of these culprits are brought to book. Facebook is a tool that can build or destroy,” Mutimushi said.

And Mutimushi reminded journalists to verify information before publishing news articles.
He said there was need for journalists to counter fake news that was shared on social media platforms.

“There is a responsibility on your part as journalists to actually have verified messages. Sometimes when you pick up fake news or anything, you’re the very first ones to forward it to your friends without actually verifying it. It’s very easy to identify who did this and so on, so please we are appealing to you as journalists, you can help us, and you can help the nation to verify some of these things. Why not challenge the fake news that has come and you put what is the real fact because you have the facts?” said Mutimushi.
ZICTA yesterday opened its office in Chipata.

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