In continuation of its twitter chat on Covid19 and looking at how the virus is fast spreading across states in Nigeria with many misinformation spreading in the country especially with the Covid19 vaccines, the Centre for Information Technology and Development hosted Kabiru Danladi Lawanti, Lecturer with Department of Mass Communication, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria to discuss on how these misinformation is spreading in the society like wildfire, how the misinformation is effecting negatively the credibility of the vaccines and the ways that can be followed to tackle them. Mr. Lawanti who is an expert in the area of converting and countering misinformation started by explaining how these messages are being circulated and how they are affecting the war against Covid19 virus and the credibility of the vaccines in Nigeria where he started by defining what misinformation is, according Malam Kabiru misinformation is â€œMisinformation is false or inaccurate information circulated to scare people away from something or make them believe somethingâ€ when giving example on how people were misinformed about the virus, Malam Kabiru said that â€œFirst, there was this information circulated early this year that #COVID19 was brought back because vaccination companies realized they could not sell their vaccines if the issue is downplayedâ€. However, when he was asked on how do the merchants of misinformation coin and spread information in the society, he went further to say that the purveyors of misinformation usually use social media, particularly Facebook and WhatsApp to generate information which are maliciously false and have no iota of truth, like the vaccine story he mentioned.
Discussions from the Chat:
Good afternoon all,Â
Join me to welcome @ICTAdvocates today’s twitter chat guest on #CITADagainstCovid19, @kblawanty, Lecturer with the Mass Communication Dep. ABU Zaria who will discuss on Covid19 Second Wave and Growing of Misinformation. Welcome sir @YZYau @teemerh_beekay
Thank you @ICTAdvocates for inviting me
Today we are looking at the #COVID19 second wave and growing misinformation
Misinformation is false or inaccurate information circulated to scare people away from something or make them believe something
Replying to @kblawanty @a_sabo12 and 9 others First, there was this information circulated early this year that #COVID19 was brought back because vaccination companies realised they could not sell their vaccines if the issue is downplayed
They usually use social media, particularly Facebook and WhatsApp to generate information which are maliciously false and have no iota of truth, like the vaccine story I mentioned
Looking at the major channels (Facebook and WhatsApp) these merchants of misinformation are using, can’t these big tech companies block these messages since they know they are harmful to the society?Â
- No, I don’t think that is the solutions. The solutions lie in putting more efforts to counter these merchants of misinformation
- For instance, what are governments around the world doing to enlighten their citizens on #COVID19. In Nigeria, #COVID19Nigeria is still seen as a hoax or part of an elite plan, masterminded by the likes of Bill Gates, to control the population.
- The problem in Nigeria was that, no synergy between the agencies. The agencies responsible areÂ
@NCDCgov and @NOA_Nigeria but the latter has more responsibility because that is their constitutional responsibility. But were they empowered to do that?
In our societies, even the most enlighten people among us are found to be susceptible to this misinformation not talk of the illiterate ones, what can you really say is the problem?
- Media literacy is actually lacking. In the past, we dealing with conventional media, whose stories pass through different levels of gatekeepers, who sieve the information before disseminating it, but today everyone could go online and post anything, with the existing belive …
- Internet is also a medium, most think that the information on Internet is true, especially if shared by people they trust
Since we know most of these misleading information are being spread through social media, as an expert in the area of communication, what do you think is the solution this problem?
- There is no one solution to this problem, it needs collaborative efforts by both NGOs, Government, CSOs and CBOs. The need for media literacy
- A basic understanding of how information is circulated on the Internet will go a long way in making understand anyone can go online and post what he wants.
As we coming to the end of this discussion, what are your advice to these gullible online consumers of misinformation and what are your recommendations to govt in solving this problem? #CITADAgainstCovid19 @YZYau @ICTAdvocates @kblawanty
- I won’t call them gullible, I rather call them victims of misinformation. In the past stories from radio e.g. @bbchausa @voahausa @dwnews are accepted without questioning because they are credible media, our people see information on Internet the way they used to see in these ..
- Credible media. Media consumers need to understand that on the Internet, even these credible sources faced growing impersonation, people use their logo or cloned website to post misinformation
- And since they don’t have the capacity to differentiate they fall victims. So if the story is not carried by several credible sources, ignore it. A simple search on Google will help confirm the authenticity of information
Here we come to the end of this discussion on Covid19 Second Wave & the Growing of Misinformation with @kblawanty, Lecturer with Dep. of Mass Comm. ABU Zaria, on behalf of @ICTAdvocates‘s E.D we thanks our guest most sincerely for taking his time to discuss this topic with us.
Thank you for the opportunity