Around forty enthusiastic youth were hosted by Darul Ihsan this past weekend - 18 September 2021 - to participate in the quarterly ‘Learner Development Programme’ workshop.
Youth leadership expert, Advocate Hafez Mohammed Vahed of the Young Leaders Academy, delivered an insightful and interactive presentation titled, 'Critical Thinking - Online manipulation and how to guard against it'.
The three-hour long session also attracted several local Ulama.
"Whilst the digital age has brought many benefits to humanity, it has also brought many problems, one of which is the spread of fake news," Advocate Vahed said. "Around the world powerful entities are working to manipulate and influence us. As one country’s Home Minister stated, ‘Real or fake, we can make any message go viral’.”
Vahed showed how bots (sophisticated algorithms) and even trolls (human bots) are used to spread fake news; how companies like Cambridge Analytica has over 5 000 data points of information on every American that was used to sway their votes; how scammers use ‘deep fake’ to show for example Barack Obama speaking whilst the words are not his.
The attendees learnt how fake news was sensationalised in such a way that we cannot prevent ourselves from sharing the news, which is shared with other groups and sub-groups until it goes viral within hours, with the result that we become part of the problem. Vahed then provided practical ways of overcoming this scourge.
The attendees were taken back by and appreciated the concise and informative session, saying it provided a different perspective on the world and its dangers.
"We are grateful for such programmes where they teach us to think critically, something that was not done regularly enough at school," one said.
"This was so beneficial and has encouraged me to look more into the subject of media manipulation," another added. "It is a topic that we take for granted and more people need to know how the media works."
Youth who wish to attend this quarterly development programme may contact the Darul Ihsan Centre offices.
Darul Ihsan Media Desk