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‘Social media users fuelling spread of false news’

By Suzanna Goussous - May 12,2015 - Last updated at May 12,2015

AMMAN — Reports of a doctor “leaving his phone in a patient after surgery” went viral on social media over the past three days, although authorities and the Jordan Medical Association (JMA) dismissed the story as false.

Many social media users, who shared reports of the incident carried by local media outlets, criticised the JMA and the Health Ministry. 

“Is the doctor that addicted [to his phone] that he couldn’t leave it at his office while performing the surgery? This is unprofessional, he should be banned from practising the profession,” Hoda Al Hamalan wrote on Facebook.

Ali Alloubani said if the doctor had forgotten anything else, such as scissors or gauze, it would have been “acceptable” but a mobile phone is “a bit too much”.

Abu Fawaz Dwairi Al Obeidi blamed the Health Ministry for allowing “such people” to practise medicine. Another Facebook user commented that the doctor should be sued and “the appropriate measures” should be taken against him.

Hussam Al Khawaldeh said medicine in Jordan is one of the most advanced sectors and doctors that do such things will cause it to regress.

Majduddin Khamesh, sociology professor at the University of Jordan, told The Jordan Times that social media users think of themselves as analysts and reporters regardless of the authenticity of the news items they share online.

“Such sites give individuals and groups the chance to use online platforms to promote their own thoughts and to exploit the broad networks to analyse false events and news,” he said.

“Many sites do not double check the information they spread; they just copy and paste the news,” Khamesh added, noting social media users share sensational stories regardless of their accuracy and the consequences.

“Medical stories have a ‘special flavour’ for readers, especially when they involve a scandal related to a person or an entity,” Khamesh told The Jordan Times.

He urged social media users to double check the news shared on networking sites in order to “stay on the safe side” and avoid spreading false news.

“Medical institutions in the Kingdom perform on an international level; social media users have to take that into consideration and check the accuracy of their posts.”

The JMA council on Monday said it is going ahead with filing lawsuits against media outlets for publishing and broadcasting the report about a mobile being left in the body of a patient who underwent a Caesarean section in a public hospital “without verifying the credibility of her family’s claims”.

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