Politicians need to be more tech savvy to avoid recycling of old social media posts

POLITICIANS have been quick to use social media as a means to reach out to the rakyat. For sure, social media is a powerful communications and propaganda tool in a society that is seemingly permanently glued to their smart devices.

But these politicians need to be a little bit more agile – or tech savvy – to ensure that their posts are not manipulated or cited out of context to create mischief.

Take for example the recent case where a video posted in July this year by Deputy Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Fuziah Salleh was re-circulated on social media.

The original video showed Fuziah shopping for basic necessities online and claimed that her bill for cooking oil, rice, biscuits, instant noodles, canned sardines and onions, among others fetched RM136.30.

The deputy minister was responding to concerns over rising costs for basic essentials, rebuffing claims then that RM200 was not enough to buy these items.

However, that video has been recycled on social media to make it look like the deputy minister was making the claims now, inviting heavy criticism and even ridicule from netizens shouldering the burden of higher living costs.

This prompted Fuziah’s special officer to lodged a report at the Kuantan district police headquarters at 4pm yesterday (Sept 21), claiming that the re-posting of the video was aimed at humiliating the deputy minister.

Earlier today, Berita Harian quoted Fuziah as claiming that she suspected the video was re-published with political motives.

“My statement in the video referred to the situation at the time,” she pointed out.

To avoid scenarios such as the above, politicians – in particular MPs and state assemblymen – should learn to clearly date or watermark their videos.

This will avoid out-of-date videos being used to create mischief. This simple enough procedure should be a standard practice if politicians want to avoid embarrassing accusations hurled at them.

However, at the same time, what the episode does highlight is that her claims from July is no longer valid if she is filing a police report on the matter. It is evident that her claim that RM200 would be enough to purchase those essential items no longer holds water.

While the video may be outdated and is being taken out of context, the rakyat’s concern over rising costs of daily essentials is valid and needs addressing.

Perhaps, in addition to the making the police report, Fuziah would like to do a similar video to show just how much those very same items cost today at the same supermarket. The rakyat would very much like to hear her explanation as to the discrepancy in the final bill in just a matter of two-months-and-a-half. – Sept 22, 2023

Main pic credit: Journal Malaysia

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