Social Media Misused -Survey Reveals

By Thomas S. Kembay

Survey report from Youths Empowerment and Development Association (YEDA) – a national based advocacy group – has revealed the alarming misuse of social media due to the increase in the number of citizen journalism.

According to the head of YEDA, Mohamed Kamara, the three months’ survey targeted WhatsApp and Facebook groups where citizen journalism is being practiced on a wider scale. The survey, he said, discovered that the increase in citizen journalists has multiple negative effects on society.

“We discovered that women these days are very fast to post in various group photographs and also message damaging the image or integrity of their rivals and or mates,” said Mr. Kamara, noting that people now find pleasure in posting on social media issues of privacy.

He said stakeholders and authorities are sometimes cartooned and circulated on social media, while some other social media news has potential security threat to national peace.

The head of YEDA asserted that if social media is properly used, it could serve as an important tool for nation-building; otherwise, he said, it would lead to catastrophe and serve as impediment to national development.

Mr. Kamara therefore called on the Cyber Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) for robust measures to crack down on citizen journalists that post to create unrest or damage the integrity of others. He also urged the government for regulatory measures to curtail the rapid spate of misuse of social media.

Meanwhile, the Information Officer to the Sierra Leone Embassy in the People’s Republic of China, John Baimba Sesay has said an audio message alleging that some Sierra Leoneans have been attacked in China following the arrest of some Chinese nationals here for allegedly involving in illegal exportation is complete hoax aimed at destroying the long standing bilateral relationship between the two countries.

“As an Embassy we have representatives in all major cities in China where Sierra Leoneans go to do business and if something of that nature could have happened, we would be the first to know,” said John Baimba. He referred to the audio as “false and baseless.”