If there is a contest for the topic of the week in the Saudi social media scene; last week’s prize would definitely go to “Coronavirus.”
It is everywhere you go; on Twitter, plenty of tweets and hashtags about the virus, on Facebook, endless feeds and links to online newspapers rambling about the subject and on the top of them all, stream of endless WhatsApp messages.
It is normal, understandable even, that such a topic would grab the attention of the public. Just all of a sudden, news about medical practitioners contracting the virus started to fly all over the place. People started to worry, talk, gossip, and of course, feeding social media platforms with their fears.
However, the unfortunate thing is that most of the shared and talked about news, information and advices, are baseless, hyped, or driven out of context.
Truth became as a drop in a sea of lies and made up information.
An environment of panic is suitable for rumors to grow and spread. There are messages on how to protect yourself and family from the virus, warnings about not even going to hospitals or to be around them, false news about hospitals closing their doors and doctors no longer going to their workplaces, about discovered vaccines and new ways to contain the spread.