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Minister: 'Please stop putting messages up online that are frightening young and old'

The government is engaging with social media companies about the spread of misinformation.

Minister Michael Ring as they launch the COVID-19 Government Action Plan To Support The Community Response.
Minister Michael Ring as they launch the COVID-19 Government Action Plan To Support The Community Response.
Image: Sam Boal; RollingNews.ie

SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES have a responsibility to stop the spread of misinformation, according to Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring.

“This is a world problem now and those companies have a responsibility… this cannot continue, frightening people. These companies have a moral responsibility,” he said. 

It is understood that the government is engaging with social media companies about the spread of misinformation online.

Ring said these messages being forwarded on to people are upsetting people, particularly the elderly.

His message to the public: “Would you please stop putting messages up that are frightening young and old.”

“The amount of people that contacted me over the last week showing me this kind of stuff on social media and I’m sure you’ve all seen this, it’s not good. It’s not nice. And it’s not morally right.These companies have an obligation themselves, and I’m calling on these companies to monitor what’s going on on social media, and to take it down.”

The only people where messages should be coming from, in relation to this issue is the government, the HSE and the national media, said the minister. 

He urged people to “have respect for others”.

“Do not be frighten people – this is a very frightening time for people in Ireland, we don’t want people like you frightening people,” he said.

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He assured older people that there is supports and help there for people, stating that the government, state agencies and voluntary organisations stand ready to help.

“Do not be afraid we are there to help… we will get through this,” said Ring.

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