Fake news, also likened to false information represents misleading information or facts that primarily aim to deceive readers into accepting the conclusion of a matter.
It is by nature, founded on verified or acknowledged facts that are unquestionably accurate. The misleading information although having no consistency proof, is seemingly rational, up to the extent the readers would want to believe. Being critical thus, would probe into further questioning and investigation prior to accepting the conclusion.
Fake news in Nigeria, albeit isn’t new. It should be brought to mind a significant false information that ensued during the outbreak of EVD (Ebola Virus Disease), which claimed that bathing in salt water rids the virus. The consequence led to the death of two, and hospitalisation of 20 in Jos, Plateau, where the unfortunate victims consumed excess quantities of salt and biter kola.
The extent to which fake news is believed also depends on how learned the reader is. For instance, people who fell for the Ebola hoax are those who don’t understand the true chemical composition of salt – that excessive intake of salt increases the blood pressure, and the higher the blood pressure, the higher the strain on the kidneys, heart, and brain, which in turn could lead to heart attack, stroke, or kidney diseases.
But now, Coronavirus disease is here, and as it has been, along with its fake news.
With several misleading information on social media (Facebook and WhatsApp, in particular), Some Nigerians are yet to learn from the Ebola virus enigma.
WhatsApp Fowarding and Facebook Sharing have never been so easy for these readers. Some, due to unnecessary panic, upon receiving the message (possibly from someone of high esteem) would instantaneously broadcast to friends and family.
Criminals have seized the opportunity to scam these people, as they make up their own news, using click baits to force the reader to click on the link, and fill in their essential details.
As can be seen above, the message was forwarded, which goes a long way to show just how much “Forwarded Messages” on WhatsApp are aiding the spread of false information.
Fake news itself, when not timely addressed can well be accepted as authentic. The more people do something, the more others are likely to adopt it – Bandwagon effect.
Read also: Coronavirus & 5G: The Untold Story