The Social Media and Fake News Menace

Written by on August 10, 2021

By Eniola Olurankinse

Public discourse appears to be deteriorating at an alarming rate as it is difficult to separate the truth from the fiction.

Experts said when fake news is not completely fabricated, it typically distorts real-world information by tweaking or contorting it, mixing it with true information, and highlighting its most sensational and emotional elements.

Crest fm’s Eniola Olurankinse in this report takes a look at the implications of fake news and misinformation in society.

In an era of politics and social media including fake news and disinformation campaigns, it can be difficult to separate the truth from fiction. 

Going through several news reports especially on social media, it is discovered how one small falsehood can spread to the highest levels and degenerate into a crisis.

About a year ago in Nigeria, what started as a peaceful demonstration by thousands of youths degenerated into chaos after the protest was reportedly hijacked by hoodlums, which created fear and anxiety due to misinformation and fake news that surrounded subsequent action.

The world is constantly evolving, and new information may come forth, and thus journalistic truth, like scientific truth, is tentative. 

Journalism has to be as transparent as possible when it comes to sources and methods making it possible for readers, listeners and viewers to make up their own minds about their views and the correctness of the information put to them.

A group of respondents, including a communication expert, Sola Ilesanmi are of the opinion that it is unfortunate that most people rely more on social media to get information notwithstanding whether or not such information is accurate or fabricated, in spite of individual’s level of education and exposure.

Analysts say civil unrests like that of the endsars protests provide an avenue for bad eggs to spread disinformation and manipulate public perception of events.

However, with different narratives that some people took advantage of social media to mislead others with fake news, experts said the rising trend of fake news on social media has created ethnic tensions and religious differences over the years.

One of the analysts, a professor of mass communication, Sheu Beyero called on Nigerians to always verify their information before dishing them out to the public.

Experts and analysts are evenly split on whether the coming decades will see a reduction in false and misleading narratives online while some are worried about the future of the truth.

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