WE MUST ERADICATE FALSE INFORMATION ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE PRESS

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WE MUST ERADICATE FALSE INFORMATION ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE PRESS.

Most recent Well-crafted seemingly serious pieces of news, emanating from social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, Instagram and even the acclaimed news portals are becoming doubtful. For instance, news items on the death of high profile personalities are often made to go round the whole world like wild fire. Most people did not doubt the recent information making the rounds on the death of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Queen Elizabeth of England who are over 90 years old. This news came out recently and because the two personalities were aged, many people seems to believe the stories especially because president Mugabe moves around with illness that often renders him frail in public. Another news item read by millions of people in the media which appeared funny but very bad, is the death of {Rowan Atkinson} Mr. Beam which turned out to be false. According to ’, Fans of Mr. Bean were shocked to hear reports that Atkinson had been killed in a car crash. The report emerged on Twitter via a fake account posing as U.S. broadcaster Fox News. The tweet, which got the actor’s age wrong, read ” “FOX BREAKING NEWS: Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) died at 58 after car accident. -March 18, 2017.”

A website Hoax Alert was quickly launched to counter the claims. It said:

“Celebrity death hoaxes are nothing new on the internet yet this one is special in that it managed to be liked/shared over 300,000 times in a short period of time by employing some devious technical tricks.”

Just days later, Atkinson appeared alive and well in China as part of the premiere of his new film ‘Top Funny Comedian.’ The film is said to be a Chinese ‘The Hangover’-style movie, where a number of characters’ experience misadventure while in Macau, and ultimately, require assistance from Mike Tyson.

Since these personalities are not dead why should anybody or group of people forge their death only for the information to turn out to be false. Apart from news items on death of dignitaries the social media is awash with information on new drugs and products on the markets that turn out to be unwholesome. The social media has been introduced to serve a good purpose by helping to disseminate information to many people across continents. There is no doubt that the social media has been complimenting the mainstream media such as newspapers, radio and television with information dissemination. However, owing to the danger in allowing all sort of information to fly about there is the need for steps to be taken to help editors, journalists and readers to detect false information on social media platform. This can be done if people are taught the methods of cross checking information on the social media. Readers must be made to resist the order or call by authors of information on the social media to pass on all information to many other people. The Ministries of Information and communication have a duty to be up and doing on this matter. They must rope in all editors of the state media and the schools of journalism and communication to educate students on how to appreciate false news. Apart from the media institutions, the NCCE should also be charged with the duty to educate people across the nation including students, church and mosque congregations on the issue.

Non-governmental organizations and community organizations should be made to work closely with the NCCE to concientize people on the effective use of the internet. This proposal may appear to be unnecessary. however, a serious look and implementation of suggestion would save the people unnecessary anxiety confusion and unnecessary stampede and pandemonium.

BY ALHAJI ALHASAN ABDULAI.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

eanfoworld for sustainable development

Abdulai.alhasan@gmail.com

eanfoworld@yahoo.com

0244370345/0208844792/0274853710

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