Social media has changed how people communicate and relate to one another. The adoption and use of the digital platforms have also changed how users source and access information. Users can share voice notes and videos, but to what extent are some of the tools authentic and legitimate?

Last week, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal were gripped by protests and looting. The protesters demanded that former president Jacob Zuma be freed from jail where he is serving 15 months for contempt of court.

There were many videos and voice notes shared on social media, including WhatsApp. While some of the videos were true and from news sources and citizens, some were false.

While it is difficult to know what is shared on WhatsApp groups, there are ways to check the content that is shared to verify if it is legitimate. WhatsApp doesn’t have search functions to verify videos and voice notes.

In an article published by the non-profit, fact-checking group, Africa Check, on July 13, titled: “Beware before you share! These #ShutdownSA videos are misleading”, a user must look for clues in videos to verify where it was taken.
Africa Check gave tips on how to check the authenticity of videos and voice notes.

“This can include flags, writing, and unique buildings or structures,” it said.

According to Africa Check, using Twitter’s advanced search functions is another way of verifying videos.

“Using advanced functions, you can refine your search to certain times and areas.”

Africa Check said to beware of anonymous voice notes. Always check with government departments to confirm communications or announcements.

Africa Check provides a service to users to verify a viral video via WhatsApp or Twitter page in South Africa, Senegal, Kenya, and Nigeria.

South African users can send a WhatsApp to +27 73 749 7875 to verify videos.

The group will put together a two to a three-minute breakdown of what the reality is.

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