The circulation of fake news and false propaganda has been on the rise especially as the world has become smaller due to cutting-edge technology that has brought social media platforms to the fingertips of the average person. As the Nigeria elections draws nearer, false information, unverified news and misinformation are some of the tools some mischievous persons may try to use to cause unrest and chaos in the country.
However, FactCheck Initiative (FCI) has been rightly positioned to contribute its quota; by creating a team for a cause that will involve partnering with government and other agencies in other to have a free, fair and peaceful elections void of any form of violence in 2023.
The main aim of this cause will be to spot, examine and respond to the impact caused by any misleading information ahead of the upcoming 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
“Complementing the efforts of government and other institutions in achieving a state of total spread of authentic information is one of our main aims and objectives” said Adeoye Temitope (Country Director, FactCheck Initiative).
According to Temitope, “this cause will help to defend Nigeria’s open and democratic society and free opinions by selecting, analysing and tackling inappropriate influences and other misleading information directed at the general elections in 2023. It will swiftly determine any unsavoury information or news rapidly spreading and nip it in the bud as quick as possible.
“We are also open to as many partnerships and support we can get; so, organizations/individuals in and outside Nigeria can reach out to us to join the cause”.
“The team will be tasked with identifying and countering foreign propaganda and disinformation; also observing social media closely before the general elections in 2023 to identify countries who may have taken an interest in seeing the elections take an unpleasant turn which Nigerians may not be favourable disposed towards”.
Fact-checking is highly effective in fighting misinformation: It is imperative to not just consider the narratives of “facts” and “fake news” but embolden fact checking position by considering human nature, our interactions and inter-relatedness. Fact-checking is a form of critical, investigative inquiry.
We must make it our daily duty to push towards the truth as we live in a world where fame can happen overnight and it is therefore important to ground oneself in knowledge and the pursuit of knowledge. In the same vein, false statements can just as easily become viral as true ones and where untrue beliefs seem to go unchecked, it’s pretty easy to become discouraged about the truth and the pursuit of it.
News bodies reporting rumors and unverified claims tend to do so in ways that bias the reader toward thinking the claim is true. A claim makes its way to social media or elsewhere online.
A couple of other news sites choose to repeat it without verifying the source. Some even employ sensational headlines that present the claim to be true to encourage sharing and clicks, while others use hedging language such as “reportedly”. Once given a stamp of credibility by the press, the claim is now positioned for other news sites to follow-on and repeat it, pointing back to the earlier sites. Eventually its point of origin is obscured by a mass of interlined news articles, few of which add reporting or context for the reader.