COVID-19

21St Twitter Chat with Salma Abdulwaheed, Journalist on How Fake News and Misinformation in Twitting: Fight Against Covid19 in Nigeria

 

In its effort to help in curtailing the spread of covid19 in the Nigeria, the Centre for Information Technology and Development have been organizing different enlightening programs to educate the general public on the danger of the virus and call on the attention of government in order to take the appropriate actions in controlling the virus. This week the chat centered on how fake news and misinformation are being spread by individuals, media houses, organizations and even sometimes by some governments is twitting the fight of the disease and misleading the general public. The guest for the chat was Salma Abdulwaheed who is a Communication expert and Head of the Centre for Information Technology and Development Office in Abuja. Mrs. Salma took her time to explain what the two terms means i.e. fake news and misinformation and how they affect the lives of the targeted individuals in general before delving into how powerful forces in the society are using them at this critical time for either fun, profit or to cause harm in the society.

Her response when asked how one can identify a fake news, she said “Take time to verify it. This can be done by checking how recently an account has been created, keeping a close eye on information from your local authorizes, or searching key word to find another source. And also engaging different verification tools online like google which can tell what you need to know about information you come across. Again, there is need to engage Metadata (a tool) it will tell you where and when an image or video was captured to avoid confusion in the case of fake”.

She went further to lament that Misinformation and Fake News could cause mental health and stigma of health service.

Advising government about the growing menace of fake news and misinformation in the society, Mrs. Abdulwaheed said government have the opportunities to gain public trust by displaying effective leadership to safe guard their people from the information epidemic via news media and statements. She also added that governments have an important role in promoting facts and scientific approaches.

Engagement:

Comment and question Reply
Ø  Who is the head office Abuja will be speaking on fake news and misinformation is thwarting the fight against COVID-19.

Ø  @a_sabo12

As expert stated , misinformation most of the time do damage than  the situation at hand (war, plague, pandemic e.t.c) why do you think agents of misinformation are investing so much on it.

 

Ø  @Mubarak

Social media influences are using their social media platforms and fringe web site 2 proliferate misinformation, propagate conspiracy theory and promote denial of COVID-19 simply to growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ø  @mubarak

Fake news in Nigeria amids COVID-19 period is undermining medical advice, proffering fake cures, inciting panic and being used for political points scoring. As a communication expert what is your advice to the government.

 

Ø  @mukhtars_s

Fake news and misinformation have created numerous hurdles for government federal and state, in their fight against the pandemic. What are its effects on public health?

 

Ø  @mubarak

False information is spreading around the world to such an extent that some commentators are referring to the new avalanche of misinformation that’s accomin  COVID-19 as ‘disnfodemic’.  One identifies the real source from fake news.

Ø  @Ali

Mrs Salma, how can we control or stop misinformation & fake news when big people in power are also promoting it? For example US president, has been caught several times misleading people with his so call “cue” during this pandemic?

 

Ø  @mubarak

Accurate science communication is key in fight against COVID-19, what can you say about accurate science communication in Nigeria’s fight against the pandemic?

 

Ø  @ Mubarak

What role can civil society play in leveraging with govt bodies like the National Orientation Agency to ensure that correct information is shared widely in the public domin and that false news is quickly countred?

Ø  Mrs, do you think it’s right or appropriate for big tech companies like to be taking down any news or information they think is misleading to the public?

Ø  @chiroma

Do you think government and media bodies are enough to tackle the separate of fake news especially in this critical time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ø  What makes it rampant is due some people want to generate revenue via web traffic or discrediting the virus or the government.

 

 

 

 

Ø  Because the science of the virus is not known. There is a confusion of causes, symptoms and even medication. as a result many people come up with all kind of ideas. Secondly the lockdown provides so much time for people to speculate.

Ø  Government have the opportunities to gain public trust by displaying effective leadership to safe guard their people from the information epidemic via news media and statement.

Ø  Verification of an online rumor will bring an end to fake news. This can be done by checking how recently an account has been created, keeping a close eye on information from your local authorities, or searching key words to find another source.

Ø  I am glad to be a part of this discussion. Thank you so much for the warm welcome. I look forward to a successful chat.

Ø   Engaging different verification tools online like google which can tell what you need to know about information you come across. Again, there is need to engage Metadata (a tool) it will tell you where and when an image or video was captured to avoid confusion in the case of fake.

Ø  Governments have an important role in promoting facts and scientific approaches. they should provide public with information and analysis, and in countering rumors and distortion.

Ø  @Ali

Yes, we can panelize social media influencers, but what about those in authority that also promoting same course.

 

Ø  Let me start by saying misinformation runs rampant during time of unrest, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.

Ø  Effort should also be made to reach out to the community level to curb the spread of fake news.

Ø  Take time to verify it. This can be done by checking how recently an account has been created, keeping a close eye on information from your local authorizes, or searching key word to find another source.

Ø  Yes such as internet in creating problem as I mentioned and of course some are paid as I said.

Ø  Misinformation and fake news could cause mental health and stigma of health service.

Ø  Some deliberately want to create problems. Some are paid to engage. However, there may be some driven by faith or those are ignorant.

Ø  CSOs and government agencies should support and empower media development to fight misinformation and fake news.

Ø  Here we come to the end of this educative chat with who is a Journalist and Head of office Abuja, on behalf of our E.D & all of us at #CITAD we thank you so much for this educative engagement. Have a nice day.

Ø  @ali

But, apart from these thing you have mentioned, a lot of educated people and sometimes those in power are also part of the purveyors of fake news and misinformation in the society, don’t you think there is a profit these people are getting from it?

Ø  Disseminating correct medical and professional messages is very critical. WHO has partnered with social media platforms to ensure that right information is shared via platforms.

Ø  For example Facebook is removing content with claims and conspiracy theories that have been debunked by the world health organization or other credible health experts.

Ø  It’s also the responsibility of the big tech companies to debunk any misinformation on their platforms which has no credibility.

Ø  Social media platforms should be more committed to amplify factual content and combat disinformation particularly those that are proactively removing harmful material.

 

Ø  Thank you everyone for your participation

Ø  Journalists and media of all kinds are crucial to helping us make informed decision. In a pandemic, those decisions can save lives. Now more than ever, we need the media to document what is happening; to differentiate between fact and fiction and hold leader accountable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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