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Hi Blog. Here’s NHK reporting on the spread of false information on Japan’s social media about foreigners committing crimes in the wake of June 18’s Osaka earthquake. Comment follows the article:
Post-quake social media rife with fake news
NHK World, Tuesday, June 18, 2018. Courtesy of JDG.
Osaka prefectural officials are urging people to keep calm and refrain from sharing unsubstantiated information on social media after Monday’s earthquake.
One widely shared tweet claimed the roof of the Kyocera Dome Osaka stadium is cracked. The operator denies this.
Other cases of false information include a train derailment and a zebra escaping from a zoo.
Messages inciting discrimination against foreigners living in Japan are also spreading.
One post advises people to watch out for thefts and burglaries by foreign residents. Another says foreigners are not accustomed to quakes, so they will start looting convenience stores or rushing to airports.
Social media users are posting messages to counter the discriminatory ones.
One user says people should be aware that racists use major disasters to spread false information.
Another says fake news spreads during disasters, and that people need to improve their media literacy so they can detect false information.
COMMENT: It seems like earthquakes in Japan (although depicted as orderly, stoic affairs in Western media) are for some internet denizens a call to create a live-action version of the movie “The Purge“. Debito.org has reported numerous times in the past on how false rumors of NJ residents have spread through Japan’s social media — to the point where even the generally “hands-off-because-it’s-free-speech-and-besides-it-only-affects-foreigners” Japanese government has had to intervene to tamp down on it (since, according to a 2017 Mainichi poll, 80% of people surveyed believed the rumors!). I’m glad to see the Osaka government is intervening here too.
By the way, if you think I’m exaggerating by making a connection to movie “The Purge” in this blog, recall your history: The massacre of Korean Residents in the wake of the 1923 Kantou Earthquake was precisely “The Purge”. And what happened in the aftermath of the Fukushima Multiple Disasters of March 11, 2011 (where foreigners were being blamed online for all manner of unconnected events, including the earthquake itself) was similarly redolent (albeit less deadly, thank heavens). As were mudslides in Hiroshima back in 2014. And that’s before we get to then-newly-elected racist Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro’s famous call in the year 2000 for a priori roundups of “evil foreigners committing heinous crimes” in the event of a natural disaster. So much for the stoicism. Dr. Debito Arudou