Experts raise concern over hate speech, fake news

Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu


Stakeholders yesterday raised concern over the growing use of social media to promote fake news and hate speech, stressing that the situation may soon leave bitter lessons if government fails to manage the situation.

The experts, including the Minister of Communications, Abdur-Raheem Shittu, Permanent Sectary, Ministry of Communication, Abdullahi Mashi, head of agencies in the ministry, Chairman, Consultancy Support Services Limited, Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, Founder, Gboza Gboza Technology Limited, Ade Atobatele, Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft, Hakeem Adeniji-Adele, insisted that only proactive measures and increasing use of social media by government at all levels could address growing messages and ideas capable of disintegrating the country.

While the experts, in Abuja, stressed that the Federal Government would be fooling itself on any attempt to censor social media in the country, they tasked government at all levels to improve on social media usage to ensure good governance.

On the backdrop that about 75 per cent of Nigeria’s online population uses social media, while social networking and blogging sites recorded around 70 per cent growth just last year, Shittu, who spoke at the event organised by the Federal Ministry of Communication to highlight the needs for social media for good governance, said the current administration would enact policies that would ensure the use of technology based platforms of interaction in the social media.

According to him, use of social media platforms to promote divisive, tribal, parochial, fabricated and sentimental information, messages and ideas capable of disintegrating the country need to be checked.

He said the government would not limit Nigerians’ access to social media solely on the basis that it might be used to express views critical of the government or the social-political system.

Mashi, who stressed the need for social media use to bridge communication between government and the people, said the use of social media to promote hate speech and false information must not be entertained, noting that the situation could jeopardize the development of the country.He said government must condemn and sanction people, who use social media to promote hate speeches and false information.

In this article:
Abdur-Raheem Shittu


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