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Member of Parliament, Catherine Hughes has distanced herself from a fake Facebook post which suggested that she had called for a civil war here.
Below is the full statement of Mrs Hughes
On Wednesday December 15, 2020 I became aware that a fraudulent screenshot of a post I made on the Facebook page of Nigel Hughes, was in circulation on various whatsapp chats. The screen shot alleged statements to have been made by me that I did not make and are wholly untrue.
For ease of explanation I am highlighting an image of the genuine thread of the conversation on the screen. I made one comment on this chat “Why, Why, Why. Has this family not had more than most can bare. Madness” (*attachment below)
What the culprit did is to create a screen shot of part of the conversation thread. He or she then created a fake screen shot in which they forged a response purported to be from me, and inserted the forged comment into the fake screenshot. It is this fake screenshot, maliciously doctored and tampered with, that was shared on several whatsapp chats.
What’s important to note is that on close examination one can see that the font of the tampered and false comment is totally different from the font of all comments in the thread.
A check of the original post on the facebook page of Nigel Hughes will reveal the authentic conversation and no presence of this alleged comment. There has never been this offending comment on the FB page of Nigel Hughes or I.
This incident has brought severe and untold damage to my character. I have reported these events to the Commissioner of Police and as was made very public responded to a request for information from the Ethnic Relations Commission. This is a cybercrime and given my strong personal stand against racism in all its forms I wish to ensure that my name is cleared.
What is worrying is that this is easy to do, has happened to many persons with dire and dangerous consequences and will happen to many others given today’s technology. What is necessary is proper technologically based monitoring of our social media environment as takes place in other parts of the world. This must be foundation on which accurate forensic investigation depends.
It is interesting to note that prior to the 2020 elections, I met with the ERC on their invitation as part of the Alliance For Change delegation. Then, I discussed in detail, the importance of the Ethnic Relations Commission having to invest in a digital computer based media monitoring system instead of the old fashioned way of placing persons in front of a TV screen or radio for long hours listening to content. There are enough scientific studies that have proven that the inherent biases of humans can influence monitoring. Thankfully, several facilities worldwide exist that allow organisations like the ERC to digitally monitor racist or incendiary content on face book, in real time, based on alerts generated from key words. Today its Cathy Hughes-the question is does the system also feel it has the responsibility to protect the victim from such abuse?