Sharing false information is not only wrong, it’s irresponsible

Published 2:56 pm Monday, March 16, 2020

“A lie travels around the globe while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

This adage has always been true, but in the world of social media — and in the face of a global pandemic — a lie can travel far faster than ever before.

This weekend, governmental agencies and emergency management officials were forced to address such a lie, such a falsehood when someone took to social media and proclaimed Vicksburg had a positive case for COVID-19.

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While the likelihood of someone in Vicksburg and Warren County having the virus is becoming more likely by the minute, as of this writing, no one in Vicksburg and Warren County has tested positive and to spread that someone has without proof, without verification, is not only wrong but irresponsible.

While someone testing positive for the widespread virus in our community is almost assured, having someone be so reckless and immature did nothing but stoke the level of fear and hysteria in a community, in a society, already worried about the virus.

With so much at stake — such as lives — it is more important than ever to be careful what you say, who you say it to and the source of the information you get. It’s no longer an issue of fake news or internet trolls. It’s bigger than that. It’s more important than that.

If the information you are reading and sharing does not source outlets such as the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, federal and state agencies or governmental leaders themselves, don’t read it, don’t trust and please do not share it.

The only way we can cut down on the level of fear and anxiety in our community is to learn about the virus, understand the facts as they are being reported by those agencies charged with our safety and well being and then live our lives accordingly.

No one is going to enjoy the social distancing measures that are being asked and required of us. In a free society, no one likes to have their lives limited. But this is not normal, this is abnormal and those measures are both needed and required.

But as civil members of this society, we should not only adhere to those guidelines, but we should avoid being a part of anything that makes it more difficult for others.

Trust the source first, then share the facts. It’s the least any of us can do, but it will mean so much.