Nigeria: Use of WhatsApp among older generations contributing to spread of fake news, includes company comments

Author: Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, Published on: 25 October 2019

"Whatsapp is the medium of choice for older Nigerians spreading fake news", 22 October 2019.

...WhatsApp is the internet for older’s the most popular messaging app across several African countries, including Nigeria...In a recent report by the Center for Democracy and Development and the University of Birmingham on WhatsApp’s role during Nigeria’s February elections, some respondents cited parents and grandparents as the “biggest sharers” of misinformation...The report attributes that tendency to share as being down to a lack of digital literacy and a reliance on trusted social networks...Sherifat, a 54-year old retired bank director...forwarded the salt-water Ebola cure to her daughter... “Even if I didn’t believe it, it was better to be careful”...

...Earlier this year, [WhatsApp] pegged its message forwarding limit to five people...As added measures, WhatsApp now labels forwarded messages and has also recently introduced a “frequently forwarded” label to alert users when they received messages that “were previously forwarded several times.”

...WhatsApp has also relied on mass media to solve its fake news problem. “In the run-up to the Nigeria national election, WhatsApp made significant product changes to limit the spread of viral content, banned accounts engaging in automated or bulk messaging, and sponsored a broad education campaign on broadcast platforms in Nigeria including on the radio, print, and online,” the WhatsApp spokesperson says...During Nigeria’s general elections, a coalition of journalists set up a WhatsApp business channel for crowd-sourcing questionable claims from the public which were then fact-checked...But none of these solutions focus primarily on older users...

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Related companies: Whatsapp (part of Facebook)