The other day WhatsApp was abuzz with the news of the death of Fr Augustine Valooran, the director of Potta Divine Retreat Centre in Chalakudy, Kerala. Fortunately it happened to be a hoax. The rumour even forced Fr. Augustine to post a video on the social media asking the people not to fall prey to such rumours and that he is enjoying good health by the grace of God. However, the false news had his admirers all across the globe worried and in a depressed mood till it was confirmed that the priest was well and continuing his good work in the vineyard of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Those using social media need to be very careful on the posts shared and received by them pertaining to well-known personalities. It takes only one person to start a rumour which can spread like wildfire all over the world via information technology. It may be difficult to pinpoint who actually started the rumour on social media. Hence, it becomes all the important to refrain from sharing and forwarding news if it is not possible to confirm its authenticity. We need to use social media with responsibility. If one needs to post about the death of some known person and offer condolences on social media, the best way would be to upload the obituary which appears in the newspapers. In the end, the truth gets revealed.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)