On the 14th of May, 2021, Versatile Media Personality, Elsie Godwin was hosted on #GettalkingwithEsther and the topic was on ‘Using social media to combat fake news”. The Tweetchat was hosted by Esther Ijewere – a Nigerian Author & Advocate. In the chat session, Elsie Godwin maintained that social media is not the amplifier of fake news, rather, human beings are. The TV Host and Content producer encouraged people to cultivate the habit of verifying content before sharing.
Find the full conversation (Questions and Answer) below:
- Social media is a powerful and helpful platform. However, fake news have become rampant. Are there ways we can identify fake news online?
So first we need to be clear that there are two types of fake news. One is outright fake – stories that are not true. While the other is some truth laced with some or more lies – Stories that have some truth but aren’t completely accurate. Identifying fake news should be a culture, it takes patience & saves lives. Patience being the key word comes from understanding the power your retweet or share holds in the grand scheme of things, regardless of what your number of followings/followers is.
Your likes, retweet, shares and comments work with the algorithm of whatever platform you use, enhancing engagement on the said post, thereby sending a signal to say more people are interested in this post, therefore, it should be served to more people. So before you like, share, comment on or even screenshot a post, pause, think of the influence you have (we all do) and impact you can make, then verify. With this mindset, it becomes a culture for you to be patient enough to fact check.
Step 1 will be to develop a culture or a critical mindset.
Step 2. Check the source – You cannot be falling for and engaging tweets from bots in 2021. We can do better. Check the web address/news platform, how credible are they? Think of their track record. See who else is reporting the story.
Step 3. Examine the evidence and facts. Credible news sources will share quotes from experts/spokesperson or at least an attempt for clarification or the other side of the story.
Step 4. Check the sound and images. Sometimes, Google can help with confirming source of an image. However, people are becoming excitingly good with edits and photoshops, so mind what you believe and again, critical thinking.
- A lot of people believe social media is the biggest source of fake news. How do we correct this abnormality and combat fake news ?
I always say this, social media is not the root cause of our problems as humans. What social media is to us, is an amplifier. Social media has made it possible and easier for me to know what happens in the backyard of one of my followers should he or she choose to share. Note: if they choose to share. Social media is not the biggest source of fake news, human beings are – either for their own selfish reasons, propaganda, marketing or for political leniencies. Just as lots of work go into ‘morally right’ campaigns, so does perpetrators of fake news sit with a group of people to create series of events to spark up certain emotions & reactions to push out an opposition in business or politics, defamation purposes, etc.
- As a blogger, TV presenter and Social media Influencer, how have you been using your platforms to combat fake news?
I have learnt over the years that no matter how careful you are, anyone can believe and share fake news unknowingly. Just as everything evolves and gets better, hoaxers and fake news merchants are getting sleeker by the day. And with too many content to consume and digest, you can easily miss something. It becomes your responsibility to put out a rejoinder, an apology and also push it out as much and far as possible.
- What’s your thought(s) on Bloggers using misleading headlines to attract readers?
Omo! It hurts. It really does. I see a piece of content, read and digest and within minutes, I see platforms with huge number of followings using headlines that are absolutely misleading just for click baits. People working in the media space in whatever capacity need to understand that it is not just a profession, you are shaping thoughts, culture…what you do and put out matters. It has great influencer on many people.
- What is your thought on the Social Media regulation Bill being discussed in the House of Rep?
I have my reservations but not ready to share at the moment. I just hope they can understand the importance of freedom of speech in a democratic dispensation and not always see every criticism as an attempt from opposition to undermine their efforts (if any). There are better ways to handle social media (earned) criticism & outrage. Maybe start from being a good leader, then get professionals to handle communications. This will save us all from headaches and help create a path to rebranding our image as Nigerians.
- Tell us more about what your projects and activities. What motivates Elsie.
I am conversationalist and a product of great conversations, so that motivates me. At the moment, It’s just content creation, PR, Digital marketing and blogging for me. I am trying to breathe. LOL. However, I am hosting a Masterclass on social media for small businesses with @BookingsAfrica on the 20th of May, you can register here – https://bit.ly/3uN5x0f
A lot is about to happen & we are talking/strategizing. I am either on your screen or behind it.
- What would you say to a young person who wants to become a social media influencer.
At the moment, there is clearly no one size fits all. The game is changing. Just identify your voice, own your strength and flaws, draw your boundaries, get a skill and go for it. A lot of hard work goes into creating one tweet, a blog/vlog post…just maintaining sanity and dishing out admirable content, consistently, takes a lot. So you must find your rhythm and dance. Authenticity will set you apart