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How falsehood peddlers capitalise on trends to mislead audience: Spotlighting Nnamdi Kanu, Jacob Zuma’s victimhood

By Silas Jonathan

The adage “one picture tells a thousand stories” not only highlights the simplicity of pictures in conveying information but also the influence it has on those who come across it. This could be argued, but definitely not by a professional journalist who is certainly thinking of the perfect picture to tell his next story. So at least, journalists, specifically photojournalists will go along with this idea. 

Nonetheless, it is not only journalists who get to share pictures.  Every day, floods of pictures grace different social media platforms, heralding billions of stories that could be true or otherwise; and significantly this is where the problem all starts. Some of these pictures are altered and suited into a topical issue. 

It would be fine if we could dismiss these images as a fleeting joke, an amusing but harmless tidbit shared among our friends and followers if it weren’t for the fact that most of them are targeted at misleading unsuspecting members of the society into believing a narrative that is totally false. 

The rise of manipulated images is as old as photography itself.  While the prevalence of pictures available online makes it easier to access and doctor them now, fake news merchants needed scissors, paste, and patience to create a manipulated picture back in the day. 

Josef Stalin’s Soviet regime regularly retouched photos to remove those who had fallen out of favour, such as the unfortunate commissar on the right. (Courtesy: Fourandsix.com)

Doctored photos rely on topical issues

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Tip of The Week


There’s precious little that we can do about the barrage of misinformation that we see daily, but there’s a lot we can do together if we learn to identify suspicious claims in the news and refrain from fuelling the fire by spreading them! Here are our top picks of likely-to-be-false news which [sadly] couldn’t be fact-checked.

CLAIM: Sunday Igboho goes to Cotonou court amidst a cheering crowd

SOURCE: Viral WhatsApp Video

A Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, was reportedly arrested Monday night by security operatives in Cotonou, Benin Republic. Following this incident, a video showing the freedom fighter amidst a cheering crowd with claims that he was being taken to court, started circulating WhatsApp.

As convincing as the video may be, it is important to always handle content of this nature with a huge dose of scepticism as fake news thrives on trending topics. 

Questions to ask yourself: Who is the source? Is it a manipulated video? Is it an old/recirculated video?

What you should do: Verify before sharing and confirm before investing. 

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