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Poll describes New Media as major breeding ground for fake news in Nigeria

A new public opinion poll conducted by Nigeria’s leading survey and polling firm, NOIPolls says that the new media, comprising the social media, blogs are the major breeding ground for fake news in Nigeria.The result of the poll conducted by the NOIPolls, released on Tuesday in Abuja showed that by 67 percent of Nigerians believe that the social media was the major source of fake news in the country.  

It noted that the natural instinct for some Nigerians to scrutinize the authenticity of a news report before sharing has been greatly reduced as some social media users want to be among the first to share a news story, be it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or WhatsApp etc.

According to the report, this trend of sharing news report without validating its source is capable of triggering mob action, agitation, violence and in extreme cases, national security implications.

“This finding collaborates reports from a two-day conference organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Abuja, revealing that the emergence of the new media, particularly social media, has given rise to unrestricted influx of fake news in Nigeria.

“More findings revealed that radio (39 percent) has remained the primary source of information for most Nigerians despite the emergence of social media.

“Also, perception on trust across media platforms regarding authentic information dissemination showed that Nigerians are more likely to trust information from traditional media; Television (59 percent), Radio (53 percent) and Newspaper (48 percent)) than other sources such as Facebook, Word of mouth, Instagram,” it said..

The poll results also revealed that the issue of fake news is very prevalent in Nigeria as indicated by 93 percent of the respondents interviewed and they believe that it is capable of upsetting the country’s social balance.

It added that a larger share (35 percent) of Nigerians lamented that fake news is capable of promoting and encouraging hatred and violence whereas, 25 percent believe it can cause panic and tension amongst other negative effects.

It acknowledged the launching of a national campaign against fake news, an initiative which 56 percent of the respondents claim to be unaware of, implying that more effort must be made in spreading the campaign, especially at grassroots level as mentioned by 30 percent of the respondents that there should be sensitization on the dangers of rumour mongering and the spread of fake news in the country..

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