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Social media week: ‘Why urgent attention is Needed on fake news in Nigeria’

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THE executive Chairman, Consultancy Support Services Limited, a cyber security and Information Communication Technology (ICT) firm, Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, has warned that the growing fake news trend in Nigeria might jeopardise the electorate system, undermine individuals’ right to truth and increases social polarisation, unless urgent actions are taken to check the trend.
   
Ajijola said it is crucial for society to be rid of misleading and untrue information, stressing that there were deliberate attempts to manipulate and influence elections in the country through fake news.

Speaking with The Guardian in Abuja yesterday, Ajijola lamented that the emerging trend also threatens the foundations of the country’s democracy, foster distrust in institutions, exacerbates various social and political religious divides and loss of trust by external parties. 


He stressed that since it takes less effort, time and money to use fake news to hack those who elect the people into political offices, political experts have continued to push people into power through the weakness of an unregulated social media platform.
 
He added: “If you want to attack a country, the cost of putting an army together, getting a weapon, firing missiles, sending troops, etc take hundreds of millions of dollars, but for a few thousand dollar, you can influence the voters.

“That is, hack the electorate, so that they vote in the way you want. You mislead them to vote the wrong person into office. You would have achieved far more than all your military expenditure.

“This is the bigger risk that we now have, a situation, where you can actually hack the electorate. I mean the actual mind of the person and with that, you have bypassed the exercise, whether the voting machine works or not, the electorate will vote against their long-term desires.”


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