Stephen Donald Birch, a real estate developer, was among the first handful of people to ever be charged for spreading fake news (misinformation/disinformation) under South Africa's amended regulations of Disaster Management Act which was aimed at helping the country contain the spread of COVID-19. In a video he distributed on social media in 2020, Stephen claims that the COVID-19 test kits that South Africa was about to use for mass screening and testing were contaminated.

He further advised people to refuse to be tested. Stephen was arrested and later released with a warning for his spreading of disinformation and misrepresenting the South African government’s efforts regarding COVID-19.

Believing and even producing fake news (to learn the difference between misinformation and disinformation, listen to this discussion with Dr. Vukosi Marivate who is a Data Scientist) doesn’t seem to discriminate on whether one is wealthy or poor, educated or not, or even access to the Internet (i.e. the vast amount of information that you can use to fact-check).

It seems that it is all about narratives, and very little about facts.

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