Covid-19 increases Fake News in Africa

It’s an Ascertainment. Probably relentless. In this period of serious health crisis where consultations on Social Networks are exploding, Fake News is spreading as fast as Covid-19.

In Africa, the phenomenon is more worrying, hence the great and delicate question of how to win the fight against false news on social networks.

In Africa, the phenomenon is more worrying, which explains the great and delicate question of how to win the fight against false news on social networks.

African digital analysts and experts are unanimous in their view that, like Covid-19, an equally important war must be waged against the spread of Fake News. This is because of its devastating impact and seriously undermines collective efforts to contain the pandemic.

African actors in the continent’s digital sphere, invited to a webinar held recently, addressed the issue. Also on the agenda: an analysis of approaches to eradicate Fake News.

In his speech, Mr. Jean Martial Addou, Cabinet Director of the Ministry of Communication in Côte d’Ivoire, wishes to recall that the Internet is now available to all social strains:

”We take seriously this issue of false news and we are aware of its impact on the population”.  

To deal with this situation, Mr. Addou pointed out that Côte d’Ivoire has taken measures to fight against false news, namely: awareness raising, legal supervision and training, especially for media professionals in the proper use of the Internet: ”False information could have serious political consequences and be the source of serious social tension, especially in this period of Covid-19”. For this, he concluded :” we must remain vigilant in the fight against false news, without threatening the right of everyone to express themselves”.

For her turn, Ms Idé Siddo, Public Policy Manager Facebook-Niger, sounded the alarm: “Fake News” is a worrying issue. And to qualify that ”misinformation is not a new phenomenon”. But the most important thing, according to her, is to know how to remove Fake News on Social Networks without infringing on the freedom of experience of Internet users: “We are not referees,” she said. Noting that the main issue today is not a total rejection of social networks, but a digital education from a young age to enable young people to distinguish between information and misinformation, “knowing that the line between freedom of expression and misinformation is very thin.

The same goes for Mr. Abdelkrim Yacoub Koundougmi, Director of Africa Internet Without Borders-Chad, for whom Facebook has made great efforts to limit the damage of Fake News during this pandemic period:

”By adapting to the cultural specificity of each society, Facebook is today a common good that is incumbent on all of us to ensure that it remains a platform of expression within everyone’s reach”. And to continue that ” Internet Without Borders” has worked hard to be in proportion, namely the respect of freedom of expression and the fight against Fake News”.

And to conclude that it is now more important than ever to invest in young people by making connectivity, accessibility and support available to them:

”Governments, for their part, are urged to invest in digital platforms for young people”.

For other African web actors, the best way to fight against the spread of Fake News is simply not to share it…Quite simply.

See also :
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