Professionals Partner With Social Media Influencers To Tackle Fake News

By: Muyinat Dunmade and Olusola Akintonde

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FactsmatterNG, a fact-checking project of the International Center For Journalists (ICFJ) has partnered with social media influencers and media organizations to combat the spread of fake news on social media platforms.

At the workshop organised for Journalists in collaboration with the US consulate in Lagos, the project head of FactsmatterNG, Hannah Ajakaiye said, it aimed to boost fact-checking content on the digital space by using the platforms of popular social media influencers to promote facts.

Ajakaiye, also said the workshop aimed at educating the public in identifying distorted information on social media by popular Social media influencers with large online followership who use trending hashtags to promote a topic.

She said; “We believe the influence industry is a sector that should be properly investigated, we’ve seen a lot of examples of influence operations by state actors to spread disinformation. In the last election, we saw a lot of instances where some influencers were trending certain hashtags. Some of these were related to some hashtags trying to delegitimize some contestants, especially women. So we believe people should be educated to be able to know if they see influence operations and to know that it is trending not because it is popular but because people are manipulating the Algorithm of social media platforms to make it popular.”

Behavioural change

Ajakaye however enjoined Social media Influencers to use their influence and platforms correctly by directing their followers to the truth and enlightening them, as this could lead to a behavioural change in the way people consume and spread information on social media.

“The project, which has already partnered with many notable Social media influencers across different platforms, still hopes to bring more on board provided they are willing to bear the social responsibility of getting people informed,” she said

Kunle Idowu, a notable Nigerian actor and comedian popularly called Frank Donga attended the workshop.

He admonished journalists to always balance their reportage and ponder on any information before sharing it on social media and not be swayed by online validation.

Another influencer who attended the event was Dr Chioma Nwakanma-Akanno, a medical practitioner and health influencer known popularly as Dr Zobo on social media platforms.

Dr Zobo urged other Influencers to always consider the implication of any negative information on humanity and not just what they stand to gain.


Olusola Akintonde

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