Idle minds are the devil's WhatsApp workshop
Chat groups were afire about a woman being sexually assaulted and having been murdered with her head banged on the ground
On Friday, mid-day featured a report about a 40-something Parsi woman who committed suicide. She had jumped off her home's balcony, police said. There were accounts that stated she was depressed.
That being said, it was the run up to the news that holds a lesson for us all. Even as news was filtering in that a woman was found lying in a Fort street, the WhatsApp community was buzzing with wild and unwarranted conjecture.
Chat groups were afire about a woman being sexually assaulted and having been murdered with her head banged on the ground. Another chat said that rapists were hiding in a restaurant in the vicinity. Yet another chat claimed that the assault had taken place in the restaurant.
The rumours took on sinister turns. One stated that workers from a nearby ice factory had assaulted the woman. By afternoon, it had grown more macabre with chats saying the woman was raped by 10 factory workers in a truck. By now the inventive investigators had done away with the restaurant theory.
By evening, these chats had moved out of the community sphere and begun circulating on other groups too. Police had to appeal to the people to not spread the rumours. The official report said it was death by suicide, and it was only then that the tsunami of lies died down.
Think before you tweet, pause before you post and verify before you vilify. In a zippy world ruled by social media, lies spread at Formula-One speed. Do not press the forward button till you are sure, or have some evidence or at least are certain it is the truth. In these times, with somber news everywhere, we need to be armed with a good sense of humour, not a penchant for rumour. Idle minds are the devil's WhatsApp workshop.
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