n recent times, the proliferation of fake news and conspiracy theories has accelerated around the world, with some portraying it as an epidemic that would engulf the planet if not addressed. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is no exception to the fake news plague.
Some people with nefarious motives broadcast false information, doctored films, and twisted facts on purpose. On numerous occasions, Nigeria’s mainstream media has been guilty of this violation. Fake news has muddled current events to the point that it is difficult to tell which stories are true and which are false.
A disturbing poll was released by Pew Research, a well-known public opinion polling firm. According to Pew Research’s poll, misleading news reaches more people than the truth. The top 1% of false news reached up to 100,000 people out of a sample of 126,000 rumors spread online, while the truth rarely gets more than 1000 views. This is terrifying.
Fake news is commonly circulated on social media platforms in Nigeria, such as Facebook and Twitter, where the majority of users accept such information without additional verification. Many times, the media, which is supposed to be a watchdog for honest news, fall prey to this low-cost guerrilla media tactic.
The ramifications of propagating bogus news are plain to observe. Conspiracy theories and false news, for example, became an accepted element of the electioneering process in both the 2015 and 2019 elections. Even though it was completely incorrect, conspiracy theories about the then-presidential candidate’s academic qualifications were widely circulated on social media by credible news organizations.
The presidential candidate of the opposition in the 2019 elections was not forgotten. On Facebook, a variety of conspiracy theories surrounding Atiku Abubakar have been extensively circulated. In Nigeria’s electioneering process, smear tactics and fake news have sadly become the norm.
Recognizing the dangers of fake news and its impact on Nigeria’s peace and stability, the government and the commercial sector have taken many steps to combat the problem, but residents have resisted them. Even government-led programs have proven to be useless. Many stakeholders, concerned about the damage fake news merchants are inflicting and the implications on national stability and peace, are looking for a digital approach of combatting fake news that will be effective while also not jeopardizing free speech.
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a machine learning-based system that mimics human behavior and makes judgments based on data trends.
Our lives have been made simpler by artificial intelligence. AI aids in the analysis of massive amounts of data in order to make real-world decisions in the age of big data. By evaluating data and forecasting outcomes such as consumer behavior or demand patterns for a specific service, AI assists businesses in making better decisions.
Stance identification is one of the ways we can use AI to combat fake news. Because most people react to news headlines rather than substance, most peddlers of fake news employ very bizarre headlines to gain views.
Stance detection is a machine learning algorithm that identifies differences between the news headline and the body of the story. Fake news is defined as news that has a difference between the headline and the body.
The first stage in applying AI to distinguish fake news from legitimate news is to build a stance detection model that uses machine learning. Despite the fact that stance detection technology is still in its infancy, it has a bright future in combating bogus news.
Many efforts are using AI to combat fake news, however the majority of them are based in Western and Asian countries. In today’s era of new media, the amount of misinformation has risen to the point where manually checking news is no longer possible.
AFC (Automated fact-checking) refers to projects that employ AI to verify and correct social media information.
Although Facebook’s algorithm has been criticized of being biased in making decisions, tech titans like Google and Facebook have done very well in sponsoring automated fact-checking programs.
To combat the threat of fake news in Nigeria, a domestic automated fact-checking project is required. The government must acknowledge that the fake news business is so large that apprehending criminals is not a long-term answer. The cost of arrests and charges to the government is substantially higher.
If fake news and misinformation continue to constitute a threat to peace and stability, we will all be consumed. The fake news industry has expanded to the point that manual fact-checking is no longer possible.
Artificial intelligence can help us make significant headway in combating the threat of false news and deep fakes in Nigeria and throughout the world.