Research has shown that the introduction of even relatively subtle information following an event can have a dramatic effect on how people remember such events. About 60 to 70 per cent of people tend to remember such information.
Fake news simply refers to false or misleading information presented as new. Also, it is inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive, cause damage to the reputation of a person or entity or make money through advertising revenue.
The key motivation behind fake news could be politically inclined or sponsored, it can also be triggered by financial benefits too. Fake News is seen in the form of lies and propaganda and oftentimes fabricated to tarnish the image of a person. It often comes with no verifiable facts, sources or quotes.
Here are some sources of fake news:
- It could come from someone wanting to make money, for example, online bloggers.
- From people who want to make a point or entertain you.
- From poor and untrained journalists
- Partisans who want to influence political beliefs and policies.
Here are seven (7) types of Mis/Disinformation:
- Misleading content: misleading use of information to frame an issue or individual.
- Imposer content: when genuine sources are impersonated
- Fabricated content: false content designed to do harm.
- False connection: when headlines, visuals or captions do not support the content.
- False content: when genuine content is shared with false contextual information.
- Satire or Parody: no, intention to cause harm but has potential to fool.
- Manipulated Content: when genuine information is manipulated to deceive.
Fake News in Nigeria especially on Social media has become part of our lives as a nation and has greatly wreaked so much havoc in times past and even in recent times. There has been the spread of lies and so much malicious content as news and headlines. It is even very difficult lately to believe real news.
The spread of fake news has tarnished the political and career lives of many politicians and religious leaders and even individuals or celebrities. The advent of many Bloggers and online media platforms have facilitated the dissemination of fake news which has led to many people being scammed by fake platforms.
Much fake news of governmental and non-governmental empowerment schemes have flooded several online platforms and have been used to scam many innocent and unsuspecting people who continue to fall, victim. Ironically, the major characteristics of fake news are that it is widely spread and oftentimes may be difficult to erase in the mind of the decoder of such information. Fake news is often mischievous and misleading in nature and has the capacity to damage a person’s reputation in a subtle manner.
In order to address the problem of fake news in Nigeria, the following measures should be put in place. The Nigerian government should scrutinise contents and information posted on the various print, electronic and social media platforms. This can be done through a body that should be created to checkmate what is posted online to ensure its credibility.
The Government should create laws that will punish the imposter of fake news while the People also should take a closer look at the content and website before digesting and circulating it. They can also check other media sources or channels for news confirmation. More importantly, facts should be closely looked at, beyond the headlines. And lastly, check your biases to ensure that news is not gotten from a satirical site.