Letter of the week: Come down hard on social media opportunists

Social media apps Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on a handphone.
Social media apps Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on a handphone.PHOTO: ST FILE

The authorities are looking into the case of two men who posted a video on Monday on social media of one of them taking a swig from two bottles of drinks at a FairPrice supermarket, replacing the covers, and then putting them back on the shelves.

To make matters worse, they captioned the video "how to spread wuhan".

After a backlash from viewers, they apologised, said it was all an "act", and asked to be given a second chance.

While an observer may be lulled into accepting their claims of immaturity and promises not to repeat their offensive behaviour, police should also look at their financial motives.

By posting such controversial material, the duo know that it may go viral.

With an increase in their audience (even those who find their act repulsive), they position themselves to receive more remuneration for their expanded reach.

Any crackdown on such opportunistic activity - monstrous, and coming on the heels of people worrying, sacrificing, and even dying - must therefore include a financial penalty as well.

Make them close their current social media accounts and place a, at least temporary, ban on their use of social media, on top of any other sentence. This will make others, who are thinking of following suit, think again.

Paul Robert Jansen