Impact Of Social Media In The Fight Against Misinformation On Coronavirus Pandemic

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Impact Of Social Media In The Fight Against Misinformation On Coronavirus Pandemic


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine the impact of social media in the fight against misinformation on coronavirus pandamic. The study was carried out in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State. To achieve this 4 research questions were formulated. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of all users of social media and residence of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State. In determining the sample size, the researcher purposively selected 250 respondents while 200 respondents were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using mean and standard deviation frequency tables. The result of the findings reveals that; the major social media platforms used to curb the spread of fake information of COVID-19 are face book and twitter; the different misinformation on COVID-19 spread in the internet include; Claims of nonexistence of Covid-19 and unrealistic claims of increased number of affected persons; and social media has not really contributed in the fight against fake information on covid-19 in Nigeria. And social media has been the major platform through which fake information on covid-19 has been spread are among others public perception of social media contribution in the fight against fake information on covid-19 in Nigeria. Based on the findings, the researcher recommended that to regulate, curb and minimize, the Government should establish penalties for individuals and entities who participate in the spread of fake news. And the owners and developers of social media platforms should regulate the categories of information which can be published by individuals and Government entities.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

The wave of coronavirus (COVID-19)-related content has become a high-stakes test for social media platforms’ abilities to fight misinformation. False recommendations about how to avoid contracting the virus or what measures infected people should take to avoid spreading it have the potential to cause more sickness and death from a pandemic that has already taken thousands of lives worldwide WHO(2020).

According to data from social media analytics platform Sprinklr (2020), there were more than 19 million mentions related to COVID-19 across social media, blogs and online news sites worldwide on March 11. For context, mentions of US President Donald Trump on the same day came in at roughly 4 million. Many of the COVID-19 mentions likely came from legitimate sources, but given the novelty of the disease and the fast-changing nature of related news, it’s safe to assume that a large portion was inaccurate or outdated.

The current battle against misinformation on most social media platforms is primarily concentrated on so-called “bad actors” that deliberately spread lies and misleading information, sometimes for political gain. Facebook, for example, uses an automated system to serve potentially inaccurate content to third-party fact-checkers who then identify, review and rate inaccurate stories so that their distribution can be reduced. It’s a resource-heavy and time-consuming process, and questions about its effectiveness were raised before the coronavirus conversation exploded on social media.

Schultze (2009), emphasized social media as the collection of tools and Online space ,available to help individual and business to accelerate their Information and Communications needs. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook were also among the earliest sources of accurate COVID-19 information. But since average citizens, celebrities, politicians and others use social platforms to share their coronavirus experiences, air grievances and simply kill time while self-isolating, important health and safety information easily gets drowned out. Many users may be well-meaning but uninformed, and they could be unintentionally spreading inaccurate information.

As a result, social media platforms have taken unprecedented steps to stop the spread of coronavirus-related misinformation. Facebook has provided the World Health Organization (WHO) with as many free ads as they need and blocked ads from brands that may be exploiting the situation by claiming that their products can cure the virus, for example. That’s in addition to increased fact-checking and a pop-up that directs users who search for coronavirus directly to the WHO’s website or a local health authority. Twitter also directs users to local health authorities’ sites like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US.

The major social platforms; Facebook, LinkedIn, reddit, Twitter and YouTube along with Google and Microsoft, issued a joint statement announcing that they had banded together to fight COVID-19-related misinformation. We are helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The social media exist to service the information needs of the society. but at the same time, the noted problem is that most Information’s are not from a reliable source, or is not credible. Inline with the social responsibility role of the press. Onabajo (2002) argued that most discussions we hold today originate their topics from broadcast media. Most social media subscribers neglect stories happening in the country and are more concerned with entertainment, this has made cultural imperialism affect the Nation as the use of smart phone affect the perception on the way, we think act and Behave in our respective lifestyle in Nigeria.

Indicating that many people , read and watch news they do not trust. Because News Information, is gotten from mistrust Individuals, due to that fact anyone, can disseminate news Information, at any point In time. Since reported levels of trust in media, are relatively low it is obvious that some people will watch news they say they do not trust while trying to filter out information, therefore they are considered biased or untrustworthy.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of the study is to investigate the impact of social media in the fight against misinformation on coronavirus pandamic.

Specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To examine the major social midia platforms used to curb the spread of fake information of COVID19.
  2. To analyse the different misinformation on COVID19 spread in the internet.
  3. To recommend the best way to stop the spread of fake information on covid19.
  4. To examine the public perception of social media contribution in the fight against fake information on covid19 in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the major social midia platforms used to curb the spread of fake information of COVID19?
  2. What are the different misinformation on COVID19 spread in the internet?
  3. What are the best way to stop the spread of fake information on covid19?
  4. What is the public perception of social media contribution in the fight against fake information on covid19 in Nigeria?

1.5 Significance of Study

The study is of immence benefit in regulating, the use of social Media and the Mode of new Age communication, in regularizing the use of social media and its effect on the Masses.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study is investigate the impact of social media in the fight against misinformation on coronavirus pandamic with a specific focus on the major social media platforms used to curb the spread of fake information of COVID-19, the different misinformation on COVID-19 spread in the internet, and public perception of social media contribution in the fight against fake information on covid-19 in Nigeria. Hence this study is delimited to Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings into the impact of social media in the fight against misinformation on coronavirus pandamic. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

ii. In this study, our focus was to investigate the impact of social media in the fight against misinformation on coronavirus pandamic. The study specifically was aimed at examining the major social media platforms used to curb the spread of fake information of COVID-19; analyse the different misinformation on COVID-19 spread in the internet; recommend the best way to stop the spread of fake information on covid-19 and examine the public perception of social media contribution in the fight against fake information on covid-19 in Nigeria.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 200 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are active users of social media and residence of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the analyzed findings of this study, the researcher made the following conclusion.

  1. The major social media platforms used to curb the spread of fake information of COVID-19 are face book and twitter.
  2. The different misinformation on COVID-19 spread in the internet include; Claims of nonexistence of Covid-19 and unrealistic claims of increased number of affected persons.
  3. Social media has not really contributed in the fight against fake information on covid-19 in Nigeria. And social media has been the major platform through which fake information on covid-19 has been spread are among others public perception of social media contribution in the fight against fake information on covid-19 in Nigeria.

5.4 Recommendations

With respect to the findings of this study, the researcher advised that;

  1. To regulate, curb and minimize, the Government should establish penalties for individuals and entities who participate in the spread of fake news.
  2. The owners and developers of social media platforms should regulate the categories of information which can be published by individuals and Government entities.

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