The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has expressed concern over the proliferation of fake news platforms on the internet, saying that the information purveyed on such platforms are fueling killings across the country.
Addressing a press conference in Kano, the centre’s Project Coordinator on hate speech, Malam Hamza Ibrahim blamed the social unrest characterizing the polity on careless handling of fake news and bogus news releases, as well as images emanating from social media.
He described the phenomenon as potential threat to social co-existence of the country, and urged government to take decisive action to tame the menace.
“Amidst recurring loss of lives and properties in many parts of Nigeria, another serious danger is brewing with wildfire effect; this danger is the circulation of fake press statements that are widely circulated online. An example of this is the purported release by a non-existent group ‘Fulani National Movement (FUNAM)’ justifying the recent massacre in Plateau state on the basis of some missing cows.
“We have over the last one year monitored how the use of fake news and fake images especially on the social media impacted on mutual co-existence and respect among people of different religious and tribal backgrounds. It is sad that many people are falling into the traps of these publications whose aim is to divide the country along ethnic and religious lines.
He therefore urged the public to scrutinize any news content accessed online to verify its source credibility before they could form any opinion base on the story.