Following the confirmation of the Coronavirus also known as COVID 19 in Nigeria, social media giant Facebook has pledged its support to assist Nigeria in containing the virus by checkmating the dissemination of information regarding the matter.
Speaking about the development in Abuja, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who is the Minister for Information and Culture, stated that the government is aware that some bad eggs who dwell on fake news would seize the opportunity to cause havoc by spreading lies about the Coronavirus in the country for their selfish gains. In view of this, the government is working round the clock to contain the epidemic.
The minister also disclosed that Facebook has shown solidarity and expressed interest in stopping people from using its Facebook platforms to spread false news about the Coronavirus in Nigeria. Facebook and Instagram users are advised to report any fake news about the incident to the authorities of the platforms, and the accounts will be taken down.
Mohammed also revealed that agencies under the Federal Ministry of Information including the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), National Television Authority (NTA), Voice of Nigeria (VON) and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) have increased their sensitization campaign to keep the people informed about how to prevent contracting the virus. These agencies are using various mediums including television and radio jingles and timely reporting to be on top of the situation.
The support of Facebook in tackling the spread of fake news about the Coronavirus in Nigeria will go a long way in containing the situation. Facebook is very popular among Nigerians. Besides using it for interpersonal communications, Nigerians also use it to pass information from one person to another. Facebook-owned platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp are also commonly used. Hence, the company can checkmate what is being disseminated on its various channels.