WhatsApp: The new dais for fake stories

Updated 03 February 2015

WhatsApp: The new dais for fake stories

Smart phone users in the Kingdom are recently being duped by a string of messages composed of fake news and rumors sent through WhatsApp.
This social media application has a large impact on Saudi society, since citizens and expats don’t tend to follow news from mainstream media, choosing to receive their daily dose of information from WhatsApp. One of the most recent bogus messages circulating on the social platform is a text that reads: “Saudi Arabia prepares to grant Saudi nationality to all expats who were born in the Kingdom.” Though seemingly harmless, the message is causing quite a stir among the expat community.
That is not the only fabricated story on the application. Many citizens and residents were shocked after they received false messages and videos regarding floods in Jeddah and other parts of the Kingdom.
“I received a message last night via WhatsApp about huge floods and natural disasters in Thailand. However, when I turned on the TV to see what was happening, I found there was no such news. Then, I realized that it was a fake story,” Waleed Abdullah, a Saudi resident in Jeddah, told Arab News.
Sometimes fake news come at a price for WhatsApp users, who occasionally make decisions based on the information they receive from the application.
“These messages always confuse me, especially when it is raining in the city. At one time, I was at my office and I received a notification from WhatsApp, saying heavy rains in Jeddah were flooding several areas of the city. I immediately left my office to pick up my children from their schools and then I discovered it was all fake,” said Ahmed Saeed, a Sudanese expat.
Alaa Badran, manager at an IT company, believes the solution to end the bogus messages lies in awareness.
“It is necessary to create an awareness campaign among WhatsApp users to help them know how to differentiate between fake news and real ones. More than 90 percent of the rumors have been linked with this application,” said Badran.
Though the IT expert stressed the fact that differentiating news hoaxes from true media messages is not very hard, he also claimed there are some users who are unaware how their behavior impacts others, especially when they forward unsubstantiated news.


Saudi Arabia announces 34 more deaths from COVID-19

Updated 13 August 2020

Saudi Arabia announces 34 more deaths from COVID-19

  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 260,393
  • A total of 3,303 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

LONDON: Saudi Arabia announced 34 more deaths from COVID-19 and 1,482 new cases of the disease on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 86 were recorded in the capital Riyadh, 77 in Jeddah, 63 in Hail and 60 in Hufof.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 260,393 after 3,124 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 3,303 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.