A viral video posted by Facebook user, Manny Quest on Saturday (22 April) showed a scene at a hawker centre where a rude male adult deliberately bumped a male elderly from the back before he along with his girlfriend confront the elderly over the use of the table.
According to an eye witness, the incident took place at the Toa Payoh Lorong 8 hawker centre, around 9pm on Friday night. Based on the video and what the eye witness shared, the couple spewed vulgarities at the elderly despite the elderly politely asking for a seat.
The reaction from the social media was spontaneous and largely condemning of the couple shown in the video The Local Society posted Manny Quest's video on its Facebook page and have been viewed over 2 million times and shared by close to 40 thousand times.
Just yesterday, Facebook page, Kuanyewism posted a series of photos identifying Ms Cherry Tan and her boyfriend as the couple which knocked the elderly male from behind. Quoting from a FB user, Ang Tock Seng who posted a comment on Mothership.sg's Facebook post that the female featured in the video is Cherry Tan and that the couple worked in United Overseas Bank (UOB)'s Toa Payoh Branch.
Once the couple had been "identified", already angered netizens shared photos from the Facebook page asking for actions for the couple to be shamed and for the UOB bank to take action against their staff.
A number of social media sites joined in the lynch, by reposting what was said by the FB page on the identity of the couple without verifying the information.
As a result of the social media furor over the allegation, UOB released a statement on its Facebook page at 8pm stating that it is ascertaining the identities of the mentioned couple and determining if either or both parties in the video are members of its staff.
At 8.23pm, Kuanyewism posted a Facebook post stating that it has received many messages from Ms Tan's friends informing the page that she is not the person at the video and requested that the page take down the photo.
In what seems to be a defiant statement to her friends, the page wrote, "We respect you. We respect Karma.. if both of them were really the ones then they better watch out cos the storm will be double"
At 9pm, Kuanyewism posted an image of what seems to be Ms Tan's Facebook message to the fanpage, where Ms Tan states that she is not the lady in the video and that her boyfriend is located in Taiwan, making it impossible for her to be with him. She asked that the Facebook page to make a formal apology and clarification for the slander that the page has made.
Ms Tan also noted that she has made an official police report and will proceed to seek further action if the Fanpage does not make the clarification.
In that same post, Kuanyewism wrote a clarification and apology:
Dear everyone, we have verified with Ms Cherry and she has confirmed that SHE is NOT the PERSON in the video. Please kindly stop sending her message. We apologized to Ms Cherry Tan Sincerely and glad she was not the one in the video.
We also hope Ang Tock Seng can stop spread these rumours about her. Our sources came from him too.
FB user, Doolson Kool wrote in response to the FB page's correction, "Please do your due diligence and verify facts before posting. Your blatant failure to do so in an shameless attempt to "rush" out news has resulted in the erroneous smearing & character assassination of innocent parties."
There are other FB users who noted that Ang did not specify which Cherry Tan was he referring to and it was the Facebook page which assumed that the profile which was shared is the lady in question.
At 11pm, UOB issued an update on their investigation, stating that the couple shown in the video is not its UOB Toa Payoh branch staff.
Ang who Kuanyewism quoted as the source for the misinformation, apologised on the bank's Facebook post. But despite UOB's clarification and Kuanyewism's retraction, many still think that the bank was trying to defend their staff.
At the end of this wild goose chase, netizens should probably reflect on their behaviour for jumping into conclusion of who the individuals were.
Many even defended the sites for "exposing" the couple despite being a false accusation. The allegation while being cleared by the accusation, might not be picked up by members of the public who have seen the post or even be believed. This can be shown by the unconvinced members of public who is questioning UOB's statement about the couple not being its staff.
This should be a reminder to individuals why it is prudent not to forward or share everything you read before you think about the provided facts. This practice should apply to all form of news, regardless whether is it mainstream media, social media post or alternative sites like TOC.