NIGERIA’S FAKE NEWS ECOSYSTEM: An Overview

According to 2021 figures from Statista, 51.4% of Nigerians are internet users; a figure that has increased by 8% between 2017 and 2021. By 2026, the percentage of the Nigerian population that will use the internet at least once a month is expected to reach 60%. WhatsApp and Facebook are the most common platforms Nigerians use to come online, but other platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and before it was banned by the federal government, Twitter, also have significant and growing user bases. Telegram and Clubhouse have also seen rapid increases in the numbers of users in the last year. Clubhouse aligns well with oral traditions in Nigeria.

In some of the Clubhouse discussions monitored for this study, speakers referenced false dates misrepresented personalities and reinterpreted events in ways that could stoke further division.

But it is important to note that these social media platforms do not operate in silos. Conversations that take place on Clubhouse, may subsequently become a topic for debate on Twitter, with tweets then screenshotted and shared across WhatsApp and Facebook. The interconnected nature of online platforms is also reflected in the increasing overlap between online and offline sources of information. This happens through conventional media who pick up information online and share it with another audience.