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
Fact Checks of the week
A viral WhatsApp message claimed drinking hot coconut water can cure all forms of cancer. It advised readers to add hot water to some thin slices of coconut flakes and the product will become…
On July 13, 2021, three pictures and a report appeared on Facebook with the claim that Nigerian soldiers intercepted a truck containing sand that concealed sophisticated weapons, including rocket-propelled launchers and ammunition along the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari road. The lengthy post in Hausa and English soon…
A Facebook user, Adebisi Yusuff Adebayo, in a post, claimed that rotten tomatoes contain fungi that produce a toxin that may cause liver cancer. According to the post, boiling and frying it does…
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.
Other Fact Checks
- The FactChecker
- No evidence Obasanjo Administration squandered millions on maritime security as claimed by Amaechi
- Nigeria Customs intercepted 200,000 live ammunition in 2018, not 2021 as viral report suggests
- Laptop radiation does not cause skin cancer but it can contribute to male infertility
- How to Spot a Fake Press Release
- The smart use of social media in era of online Mis/Disinformation
- What danger does sleeping with a phone under your pillow pose to you?
- How falsehood peddlers capitalise on trends to mislead audience: Spotlighting Nnamdi Kanu, Jacob Zuma’s victimhood
- How to get verified on Facebook, Twitter as a journalist
- What you need to know about COVID-19 Delta variant and implication of its discovery in Nigeria