For the next couple of days, participants from all across Africa will converge at the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria island, for the 2019 edition of Africa’s largest tech and media convocation, Social Media Week Lagos.
This year’s event themed, ‘STORIES: With Great Influence Comes Great Responsibility,’ is aimed at conditioning the mind of the average African on our collective responsibility to drive growth in the continent through the power of veritable stories.
SMW Lagos 2019 kicked off on a very high note, with attendees already fully immersed in the engaging discussions and fascinating bevy of speakers hand-picked for this year’s affair.
In one panel discussion at the event, ‘Gate Keeping In The Era Of Fake News: The Impact Of Social Media During Elections,’ organized by Guardian Nigeria Limited, attendees were lectured about the importance of digital and media literacy as a means to restraining the spread of fake news on social media.
What better way to host a social media talk than to bring in experts from the world’s foremost search engine, and top social media organization to educate attendees on industry best practices?
The panel comprised of:
- Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Communications and PR Manager, Google West Africa,
- Adora Ikenze, Head of Policy, West and Central Africa, Facebook,
- Nicholas Ibekwe, Head of Investigations, Premium Times,
- Lolade Nwanze, Head of Operations, Guardian Digital, as the moderator.
The specialists discussed the need for users to properly verify information using simple fact checking methods before attempting to pass on any piece of information.
The rapid purvey of false news in today’s media space is homologous to the spread of wild fire in a dry forest. Without proper control this misinformation bruits abroad till it is perceived as genuine news.
Although Facebook and Google have been able to develop fact-checking algorithms and artificial intelligence that can flag inauthentic news, this is still not by a long-shot enough to utterly put an end to the propagation of fake information through the media. The panelists, however, called on attendees to join the campaign against the spread of misinformation by genuinely flagging false news right from WhatsApp groups, to Facebook posts, and news from media outlets.
In another session, ‘SKIT KINGS – How social media is democratizing Storytelling,’ top Nigerian vloggers converged to discuss the opportunities and challenges in the Nigerian vlogging media space.
The interesting panel for this discussion comprised of Wofai Egu Ewa (also known as Wofaifada), Lasisi Elenu, Frank Donga, and Chiedozie Igweonu, as the moderator.
The speakers engaged the attendees in a discussion bordering on the responsibilities of a social media influencer in an era such as this. So many people have access to social media and this makes it quite difficult to control content posted by users. However, progress does not have to be with a hundred or a thousand people at once. Helping one person at a time understand the significance of responsible story telling will go a long way in the quest to realigning the value system of social media users across Africa, and the world.
Featured image source: Achem Samuel