Plans have commenced for popular social media platform, Facebook to partner with the Federal Government of Nigeria in a bid to check the menace of fake news.
To this end, the National Campaign Against Fake News which was launched in July 2018 will be tasked with the duty of ensuiring that the partnership Facebook is effective in eradicating fake news from Nigeria’s media.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed disclosed this on Tuesday during a visit to Daar Communications in Abuja.
He noted that results from the partnership may not be immediate but is a required strategy and a step in the right direction to gradually ending the scourge.
“We are not under any illusion that our campaign will immediately end the menace of fake news. But we know that by creating national awareness, we are putting the issue of fake news on the front burner. Fake news is now a subject of national discourse, workshops and conferences.
“In the coming days, the social networking web platform, Facebook, will be meeting with us and other top policy makers across the country in the days ahead to see how to assist us in fighting fake news. That, to us, is a major step forward, and we thank all our partners, and indeed all Nigerians, for this achievement”, he said.
While stating the harmfull effects of Fake news, Mohammed referred to the damaging reportage of recent events in the country and how it can contribute to destabilising the citizens.
“For example, the fake news phenomenon played out during the recent governorship elections in Osun State. Whereas 16 PDP members were arrested for various offences, including impersonating observers and for violence during the rerun, the purveyors of fake news made it look as if the APC was the perpetrators of these crimes.
“Also, a few days ago, fake news about the release of Leah Sharibu circulated freely on the social media. Imagine the additional trauma this would have caused for the parents. Imagine the implication on efforts to secure her release, and indeed implications on the national security”
While stating that the negative effects of fake news is a danger to the nation’s democracy adding that media practitioners have a duty to exhibit promotion of responsibilty and accuracy in their reportage.