Coronavirus: FG, Facebook Partner to Check Fake News
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Government has partnered with social media site, Facebook to check the spread of fake news and disinformation following the confirmation of one coronavirus case in Nigeria.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, disclosed recently at a press conference addressing topical issues in the country. He stated that the people are likely to take to social media to spread unconfirmed and malicious content to create panic and spread fear.
“We know that at times like this, purveyors of fake news and disinformation usually ramp up their acts. We are therefore urging Nigerians not to fall for the antics of purveyors of fakes news and disinformation.
“Fortunately, Facebook is working with us in this regard. They have asked Nigerians to report any false or misleading report on Facebook and Instagram pages so they can immediately bring them down,” he said.
Mr Mohammed further said, “They have also assured us that they are taking pre-emptive action to remove any false or harmful messages about this epidemic and public health in Nigeria 24/7.
“All that Nigerians are required to do is to flag any false or misleading report on the epidemic and Facebook will remove any such report.”
He used the medium to call on news agency and authorities in the countries such as the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA); Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN); News Agency of Nigeria (NAN); and Voice of Nigeria (VON) to continue sensitization campaigns to keep Nigerians enlightened.
Also playing its part, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has also employed the use of social media viral video application, TikTok to tackle misconceptions about the virus.
In WHO’s first video, Ms Benedetta Allegranzi, technical lead of infection prevention and control, describes measures people can take to protect themselves from the virus and directs them to the organization’s website for additional information.
“We are joining [TikTok] to provide you with reliable and timely public health advice,” WHO wrote in the description of its first video.
In latest reports, over 3,000 people have died and more than 88,400 people are infected since the outbreak began last December in Wuhan, China. Last week, the virus was reported in Nigeria, Egypt, and Algeria, raising concern of a possible spread across the continent.