Online rumors undermine credibility of US social media

By Liu Jianxi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/22 23:58:41

US social media platforms are descending into a hotbed of rumor, a sad truth that has to be admitted. China's real estate tycoon Pan Shiyi claimed recently that he will file a lawsuit against rumormongers for slander spread on US social media. A certain rumormonger is still active in US public opinion, lying through his teeth and deliberately stirring up troubles against Chinese society, even after being listed on an Interpol Red Notice. 

Facebook, Twitter and other Western social media platforms are gradually becoming a tool for people with ulterior motives to spread rumors. Under the cloak of freedom of speech, they wantonly trample on justice and spread unwarranted charges against Chinese political and business figures.

Some rumors have not only tarnished victims' reputation, but also defamed Beijing, interfered in China's internal affairs and may upset the 19th Party Congress of China to be held this fall.

US social media platforms are unilaterally allowing the rumormonger wanted by the Chinese government to speak out. This is not freedom of speech, but is pandering to online rumors. Washington, on the one hand, claims itself as a state under the rule of law, but, on the other, provides platforms for criminals to spread rumors. It is slapping itself in the face and tarnishing the concept of "rule of law."

Recently, unverified reports on the alleged ties between the 2016 US presidential campaign and Russian operatives have been widely circulated on US social media platforms, dragging the White House into unprecedented chaos.

Former FBI director Robert Mueller was just appointed as special counsel to investigate the Russia factor in the 2016 presidential campaign. Accusations against US President Donald Trump have largely affected US politics. Lawmakers have started to demand Trump's removal from office, and there are even polls conducted to explore the public's view on impeachment. If the US disregards online rumors, the country will eventually reap the whirlwind.

Washington should learn from Beijing and put more efforts into punishing those who slander online. In China, those who spread rumors will face legal responsibilities. However, groundless allegations by a criminal wanted by the Chinese government have been circulated by US mainstream media. How would the US media react if someone in China made up and spread rumors of Trump colluding with Russia?

In response to the allegations, Pan urged victims to protect their justified rights and safeguard their esteem with legal weapons. In fact, not only should the victims stand up against unfair charges, but US media outlets should shoulder the responsibility and take action against rumors.



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