‘Force for good’ hope raised against rumours fuelled by social media

“TWO people and two lives blighted by slip-shod standards of proof and the speed with which social media can spread inaccurate gossip.”

So says Colette Douglas Home in today’s Herald, on how a case of mistaken identity can result in horrendous consequences, thanks to the alacrity of social media.

As well as the well-documented case of Lord McAlpine, Douglas Home also writes of an university professor in Iran, mistakenly named as the victim of a shooting during a street demonstration. Says Douglas Home, the woman’s attempt to prove she wasn’t the person around whom a protest movement was forming then brought accusations that she was, variously, an ‘agent of the state’ and also working for the CIA.

“She had to bribe her way out of the country.”

As to McAlpine’s reported legal actions against various organisations and individuals for the plight he found himself in, The Herald columnist continues: “I’d say he’s pitched his retribution perfectly right.”

And she adds: “If his deft and determined action puts down a marker that makes people think twice before they tweet and pass on hurtful rumour, he’ll be a force for good.”