On April 15, much of the Notre Dame Cathedral was destroyed by an accidental fire. Responses on social media were abundant, yet determined inappropriate and incorrect by many. On Sunday April 21, a multitude of Sri Lankan hotels and churches suffered bombings. A nationwide social media blackout was implemented by government officials just hours later, according to The Washington Post. Almost 300 people died in the bombings according to The New York Times.
The world’s social media coverage for these global tragedies are unfathomably disproportionate. Millions of people are talking about the Notre Dame fire, yet not nearly as many know about the bombings in Sri Lanka, which resulted in hundreds of people dying. The fire at Notre Dame resulted in no deaths, yet has gotten a substantial amount more of media coverage than the Sri Lanka bombings. Due to the lack of awareness, potential donors are unable to help Sri Lanka as they have generously been helping France.
The large disparity in social media coverage for these global tragedies is from fear of spreading misinformation. Prior to the social media blackout, it is said that claims on social media, “misidentified those behind the attack and the total number of people killed,” according to The Washington Post.
Similarly, early coverage on social media claimed that the Notre Dame Cathedral fire was deliberate, according to The Guardian. As time progressed, these rumors were debunked.
Regardless of these false claims, France continues to receive tremendous financial support from around the world, whereas Sri Lanka continues to suffer in silence. Exposure on social media, even if inaccurate at first, can bring much needed aid to a nation and therefore, should not be censored.