Last night, a story emerged that the African state of Angola had banned Islam. But anyone with half a brain and an internet connection can see that this is too absurd to be true.
In the new age of internet journalism, often an article is written that is so far-fetched and unsubstantiated that it can't be true. However, that doesn't stop several online sites from spreading the information as if it were actual news.
The story in question right now is the supposed decision that Angola has taking, banning Islam and dismantling mosques. The real question in our minds is who is responsible for creating this hit of news? It is hard to pin down who started it, and some websites believe that the story originates from the African press, which went as far as quoting the president of Angola Jose Eduardo dos Santos as saying: "This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country."
On another website, they have the Angolan Minister of Culture, Rosa Cruz e Silva saying that "The process of legalisation of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human rights," and that "mosques would be closed until further notice."
These statements are absolutely atrocious and would rightly spark a serious global discussion that would be picked up by every reputable news organisation, but alas that isn't the case. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to matter in social-mediasphere, where plenty of people on the go, who apparently don't have the time to check sources, quickly retweeted this story with pictures of people taking down mosques. What they fail to notice is that the photo that helped spread the virus, was in fact as old as 2008 and may have never even taken place in Angola but, supposedly, Israel.
The truth is that many Angolan diplomats are coming out claiming that these statements aren't true, and that there isn't a ban, but with the age of technological advancements and terrible journalism, many stories much like this one get reported and spread within minutes, resulting in damaged reputations that aren't easy to repair.
So the next time you read a story on Twitter that seems to good (or evil) to be true, don't retweet it right away, check the source and find out if it true, otherwise you end up becoming just another cog in someone else's propaganda machine.