Fake News: Expert Advocates Social Media Regulation, Certification of Journalists - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Fake News: Expert Advocates Social Media Regulation, Certification of Journalists

The Head, Public Relations Directorate, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Mr. Kola Adepoju, has advocated for regulation of social media and certification of journalists as ways to curb fake news in Nigeria. 

Adepoju, who spoke at the 4th edition of annual symposium of The Academia, a press club journal of the Federal College of Education (FCE), Osiele, Abeokuta, Ogun state, maintained that fake news may destroy the peaceful coexistence of the country if certain actions are not urgently taken. 

The FUNAAB's image-maker, who was represented by the Secretary, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Ogun State chapter, Comrade Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji asked media practitioners to consistently engage all relevant stakeholders in addressing fake news. 

He stressed further that the media profession should be certified to eliminate quacks from the profession.

Speaking on the topic, "Fake News Saga: Misinformation in the general media, a menace to the society", Adepoju said there is need for strict enforcement of media laws that would checkmate unethical and unprofessional activities of some online journalists and social media influencers.

According to him, the effect of fake news especially during the  EndSARS protest that rocked some parts of the country last year include; destruction of properties, invasion of privacy, anarchy, hate speech, infringement on individual's law of decency among others. 

 "Let's take a look at the most recent one in Nigeria, during the #ENDSARS protest, a lot of fake news bombarded the air, we spread lots of unverified information with old pictures, drama pictures, accident victims pictures, linking them to the current situation at that time, that is fake news.

"Fake news is nothing new, but bogus stories can reach more people more quickly via social media than what good old-fashioned viral emails could accomplish in years past.

"However, there are steps to follow to determine fake news, they are; Consider the source, verify the exact wording of the claim, Contact the person or organization quoted to confirm whether they were quoted correctly and who their source was.

"Read beyond the headline. If a provocative headline drew your attention, read a little further before you decide to pass along the shocking information. Even in legitimate news stories, the headline doesn't always tell the whole story.

"Check the author. Another tell-tale sign of a fake story is often the byline."

He continued, "Check your biases. We know this is difficult. Confirmation bias leads people to put more stock in information that confirms their beliefs and discount information that doesn't. But the next time you're automatically appalled at some Facebook post concerning, say, a politician you oppose, take a moment to check it out.

"Consult the experts. We know you're busy, and some of this debunking takes time. But we get paid to do this kind of work. Between FactCheck.org, Snopes.com, PolitiFact.com, https://www.politifact.com/punditfact, and host of other fact checking websites such as Africa Check, Info finder, fact sheet. it's likely at least one has already fact-checked the latest viral claim to pop up in your news feed."

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