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Saturday, Feb 23rd

#RiversideAttack: Kenya deals with info fallout

#RiversideAttack: Kenya deals with info fallout

The Kenyan government has warned its citizens from sharing information and pictures from unverified sources on social media as they could be aiding "sympathisers" following the 14 Riverside terror attack in Nairobi yesterday.

A tweet from @StateHouseKenya cautioned the public over sharing of information and images from the attack: "Please do not share clips of the attack are riverside or terrifying messages. It aids those behind such atrocities."

The Communication Authority added: "The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) through the National KE-CIRT/CC wishes to caution the public to be vigilant against fake news circulating online regarding the security operation at 14 Riverside Drive."

"CA advises members of the public to avoid accepting, trusting or sharing unverified information online," it added.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet added: "We would want to caution the members of the public that sympathisers of these criminals have taken to the internet using old and quite disturbing images all of which have nothing to do with today's incident; in an attempt to spread fear and despondency among members of the public."

"We wish to urge everyone not to share forward or retweet or otherwise spread these pieces of disturbing information or images as in doing so will only be abetting the aims of the enemy," he added.

He urged people to flag such information and present them to relevant authorities.

Mark Kaigwa, founder of Nendo, a digital strategy and research firm based in Nairobi, said that it goes beyond just fake news, but (is) disinformation and a false new. "Some people innocently spread misinformation or are co-opted to spreading it," he told ITWeb Africa.

Kaigwa said that terror groups have been documented to be tech savvy, especially in using social media to spread their agenda. "The injury (to rescue operations) here can be passing false information or flagging the location of survivors and those attempting to escape which gives terrorists the opportunity to change tact," he added.

According to him, lessons from Westgate attack in 2013 have been considered in terms of sharing information to the public, although spreading unverified information remains a concern.

Nendo created a fake news quiz in 2018 (stopreflectverify.com) that guides citizens on how to treat unverified information.

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