Internet is a great way for disseminating information as you can be sure to get your audience access the information fast. However, some of the information on the Internet is not false. Some Websites may contain information which are half-truths and others total lies, cooked up by unidentified people. There are also many instances of copyrighted material being posted on the Internet without permission. The one thing about posting information on the Internet is that, the user can choose to remain anonymous or choose a nickname, making it difficult to identify who posted what information on the Internet.
Quint Kessenich posted on Twitter that Virginia had announced that they were ending the men’s and women’s lacrosse season immediately due to the tragic death of Yeardley Love, a female Lacrosse player. That information was not exactly true. Virginia Authorities were, in fact, considering canceling the season but had not reached a decision when Quint posted his tweet. This attracted a lot of comments and, overwhelmed, a large majority of people who thought the news to be true. Quint’ s Twitter account has been closed and there is no trace of him. This is just one in many cases where people put false or partially true information on the Internet. Quint’s case here may be an instance of jumping the gun, when he posted the obvious, but before the event happened. But, even then it was not right and he had to pay a price for that.
Though defining ethics for posting information on the Internet is difficult, posting false or partially true information on the social networks is unethical. Such information may create a lot of confusion in the minds of people. False information about unrest in a country for instance, could create panic, anxiety and fear in people who have relatives and loved ones in that country. This anxiety can cause people to do a lot of health problems like stress, high blood pressure and others. It can even kill!
The legal issues about information on the Internet, especially social networks like Twitter, are however more defined. A person can be sued for libel or defamation when he posts information that is untrue and seeks to speak bad of another person or organization, and that information is accessible to people other than the one about whom the information is about. Different countries and societies have their own definition and punishment for libel or defamation. It is now becoming easier to identify people who post information on the Internet. The Internet facilities are now able to detect the location of people who post information on the Internet by means of the Internet Protocol address of the computer used. Interpol and local law enforcement agencies are notified and the person may be arrested.
Every Internet user should try to ascertain the facts and figures before posting on the social networks as, these are viewed by millions of people and the information is transmitted very quickly across the world. Any information that is not right can cause a huge loss to someone who views the information and acts on the posted information. Since Twitter is being used by millions of people across the world, and seems to be the future of instant communication, important details of various activities are being posted on it each day. The individual posting the information should take the responsibility to post the correct information.