Any student with a basic knowledge of Research will know to treat with caution and care any information obtained from the Internet. But with the availability of mobile internet in Nigeria, there has been a major shift that many should be aware of. Stories about events and developments in Nigeria on the Internet seem to be overwhelmingly FALSE. Nigerians are now experts at creating false stories and new fictitious blogs and then share it on their status as NEWS. This is crazy.
I asked my administrator to spend one hour investigating several stories shared by Nigerians on Facebook; they were ALL FALSE. All twenty of them. From images of events in other parts of the world falsely claimed to be from Nigeria, to stories about political developments that are wholly fictitious. A good lesson for all social media users is to resist sharing stories from or about Nigeria without first authenticating it as true or likely to be true.
Some doubt the truth of many stories, but share it anyway…I don’t get the sense in that. These falsehoods serves to muddle the waters of political discuss in Nigeria as people find it hard to separate facts from fiction. Truth has become a casualty of emerging Nigerian social media space.
As a practical guide; when I see a story about developments in Nigeria, I check it against reputable media houses to see if the story is being carried or published elsewhere. This alone exposes 90% of the false stories. Nigerians should not equate being available online to being an Authority. We should develop a habit of intellectual rigour and healthy skepticism.
Anybody can sit on their bed in a town in Nigeria and create a blog of falsehood. We should stop giving such stories the oxygen of publicity. If nobody repeats or rebroadcast their lies; they will have to give up eventually. So before you share that post next time….ask yourself if you are certain it is true or you are merely helping to spread falsehood and lies. Let us all start fixing our policy now….one story at a time.