The video showed a lady arguing with a senior citizen over choped, or reserved seats, at a local kopitiam, or known as coffee shop. The incident was compounded when the lady's male companion made a deliberate hard shove against the old man from behind. it was later reported that the guy pushed the plates to the ground in a fit of anger.
As the video continued its viral non-viscosity, many commenters were looking to the Internet to CSI the identity of the couple - to “make them famous”.
One alleged that it was a lady from a local bank and shared her photo. Some online sites picked it immediately and it was quickly shared online. However, the alleged lady responded to say she was overseas and could not have been part of the video.
Singapore Police Force investigated the issue and the latest update that the couple, a lady in her late 30s and a man in the mid 40s, was arrested and charged for being public nuisance.
The whole episode has shown how easy it is to film and upload content online with the modern smartphone and 3G/4G connectivity we have today. Sharing the video is also as quick as pressing a button.
In the rush to get eyeballs and clicks, new social sites today are looking to get the scoop faster than mainstream media. Given that the new social sites have lower editorial restrictions, they can quickly push their scoops online faster. On the other end of the spectrum, the lack of their experience in verifying their sources could result in false allegations.
Online mob lynching isn't new in Singapore. In 2012, a Facebook user posted on Facebook to express her unhappiness over the “noise” from the Malay wedding at the void deck below her flat. The online community started to identify her and her employer, which so happened to be the national trade union. As racial harmony is a key foundation of Singapore's cohesion, this Facebook user was fired from her post at the trade union, and left Singapore to escape the local online lynching.
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This chope and shove incident it also serves as reminder that eyes are everywhere and they come in the form of a smart phone and mobile data connectivity. As such, we have reached a stage where you always have to be on your good behaviour.
Unfortunately, are we on our best behaviour because we want to or because we have to?