Social Media Messaging, Fake News, and COVID-19 outbreak in Lagos, Nigeria

Nelson Okorie 1 *
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1 School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, NIGERIA
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 12, Issue 4, Article No: e202225. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/12248
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ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a public health concern that has negatively affected human development across the globe. This study examined the attitude towards social media messaging on fake news about COVID-19 outbreak in Lagos, Nigeria. This study was hinged on the uses and gratification theory to understand how individuals utilize social media to publish fake news reports on COVID-19. A mixed method approach (survey and ethnographic observation) was adopted to achieve the objectives of the study. The survey method served as a primary method to generalize inferences and also determine individual perception on social media messaging and fake news reports, while ethnographic observation served as the secondary method to generate rich descriptive data that captures the experiences, feelings and behaviors of individuals. In addition, the Spearman correlation analysis and Somer D’ measurement were used to test a hypothesis to ascertain the possibility of connection between variables. The results indicated that a significant majority of the respondents were sufficiently aware of social media reports on COVID-19 outbreak in Lagos State. In addition, the findings show that 83.1% of the respondents were adequately aware of fake news reports on social media about COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, the results reveal that almost 67% of the respondents had cautioned individuals about the circulation of fake news report about COVID-19 on social media platforms. It was recommended that governments, international agencies and non-governmental agencies should partner to develop a media literacy project on COVID-19 to educate and sensitive individuals about how to detect fake news as well as the importance of priority health practices such as vaccination, healthy lifestyle practices to curb the threat of COVID-19 in Nigeria and other parts of the world.

CITATION

Okorie, N. (2022). Social Media Messaging, Fake News, and COVID-19 outbreak in Lagos, Nigeria. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 12(4), e202225. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/12248

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