By Bashir Muhammad, Kano.
Project Coordinator, Hate Speech, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), Malam Hamza Ibrahim, has declared that the proliferation of fake news on Social Media Platform was responsible for the ethno-religious conflicts rocking the country.
Speaking in Kano yesterday, Ibrahim said “sentiments and selfish agenda have given people the momentum to become information givers, while recklessness has encouraged some people to use technology for evil machinations as they manufacture and concoct lies and disseminate on websites, groups and pages of Facebook.”
Ibrahim said “the repercussions of fake updates was that when people read them they become emotional and sometimes react violently,” adding that “various press statements on the crisis in Jos carried strange names of signatories and associations of certain people making provocative remarks on the crisis and setting conditions or making demands.”
He said another portion of the danger “are emerging websites that tag themselves as online newspapers whose ultimate goal is to bring into collision one ethnic or religious group against the other through uploading violence sparking pieces.”
“We have over the last one year monitored how the use of fake images and news especially in the Social Media impacted negatively on mutual coexistence and respect between people of different religious and tribal backgrounds. it is sad that many people are falling into the traps of such publications whose aim is to divide the country.
“Concrete action ought to be taken to curtail it. There are undoubtedly millions of Nigerians on different social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, because these sites and web pages make it easy for people to posts contents.
“We want use this medium to draw the attention of all and sundry on this unfortunate practice and strongly add that stakeholders and especially the government at different levels and the media need to ruse against it.”