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“Fossils of a giant crocodile that lived more than eight million years ago were found on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Chairman of the Geological Research Authority in Dubai, Adnan Al Hamid, indicated that the discovery of these fossils was the outcome of continuous efforts that lasted for weeks. It is proof that life existed in the region in the past”. (IPUL)

Of course, you will not read this piece of news except in this column not because I have the scoop but because I made up the entire story. However, try to re-post this news on BlackBerry or a forum and a few days later it will bounce back as a real story that cannot be denied. You can tell them that the Palm Jumeirah was created only a few years ago and no one will listen to you. You can scream at the top of your voice that there is no department in Dubai called the Geological Research Authority and your voice will echo back in vain. You can point out that Adnan Al Hamid is the voice over of “Hanafi and Um Sayed” in a cartoon show and that “IPUL” is not a news agency but rather “I Pulled Your Leg”. But you will always find someone who will say the news is “everywhere”!

The motto of the new social media is “write whatever you want and there is always an audience”. A few days ago, I received an email about the danger of Indomie noodles made of “dead animal bones” and a warning from an anonymous doctor about the e641 substance that it contains along with a long listof the harms, which are not even caused by the Japan’s Fukushima reactor. Despite that, our young kids eat a lot of Indomie noodles and are still in the best of health.

We are facing a dangerous media dilemma. Many people like forwarding or re-posting news without bothering to do a simple research about the source or the truth and accuracy of the story. In most cases, it is usually a rumor, false compliant or fabricated news. This phenomenon has largely spread along with this media propaganda until I was really scared after the “Um Rashed” case in which my colleague Hassan Yacoub paid the price on behalf of us all.

The other point is that most forwarders or re-posters wish to appear as being concerned for the safety and health of the nation, hence, everything became the cause of cancer from cups and car seats to fast food meals, asthma sprays, shaving tools, apples, gum and snickers and of course Botox injections.

By: Abdullah Al Shuwaikh Emarat Al Youm
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