How Africa Can Manage the Social Media Effectively- Experts
Experts have spoken on how Africa can leverage the social media for development while tackling issues such as Fake News, propaganda among others.
This is as the Pan-African Social Media Summit which is the Fifth edition of the annual Nigerian Social Media Summit held on November 12 and 13 via Zoom.
According to the Chairman of the event who is also the Executive Director of Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), YZ Yau, the event came at a critical time in the continent especially taking a look at recent events in Nigeria.
He advocated that there should be a more robust discussion around leveraging the social media for Africa’s development other than gagging the platform.
Speaking at the summit, the Image Merchant Promotions Limited Chief Executive Officer, Yushau Shuaib, emphasized the need for regulations to ensure that the social media is properly managed. While acknowledging the power of the social media, he noted that there is a need to fight fake news and propaganda which has become fast spread through the social media.
Yushau noted that the Social media has become manipulative giving an instance of the EndSARS protest which he said became violent due to poor management of information on the social media.
The African Union CyberSecurity Committee Experts Chairman, Abdul-hakeem Ajijola, while commenting on the theme noted that there is a need to create a workable framework for management of the social media on the continent.
He however said regulating the platform will lead to many Africans going under-ground which can be dangerous.
“Managing the social media should be an international effort not an effort from a local community because if you regulate the social media in Nigeria, how do you regulate contents coming from the United States for instance” he noted. He harped on need for training and retraining Africans on broader user of the social media.
The Executive Director of Media Career Development Services Network, Lekan Otufodunrin, stressed the need for journalists to have a voice towards reporting the truth. He also frowned against fake news and propaganda which he noted is bring spread even by state actors.
Lekan condemned the clampdown on EndSARS promoters which according to him is ill-informed.
He advocated that the government should invest in training about use of social media for better benefits. According to him, this will lead to more results, he noted that this should be where the government efforts should be geared at.
The Special Assistant to the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports Development on ICT and Corporate Relations, Kemi Areola, while commenting on the theme acknowledged the growing roles of the social media in today’s society called for self-awareness and self-regulation on how to verify information before sharing.
She also noted that the social media is an opportunity for job creation which the Nigerian Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has been leveraging on.
While advocating for a whistle blowers policy to tackle fake news on social media, she noted that if actualized this will go a long way.
Other speakers like Gidado Shuaib (Executive Director YouthsDigest); Vincent Adeoba (Author I am Employeable); Alabidun Shuaib Abdulrahman (Executive Director, Centre for Hunger and Poverty Alleviation and Research); Sam Adegbola (West African Coordinator, Pan-African Development Initiative), noted that it has become important for the social media to be seen as a platform for youth engagement and participatory governance. Gidado while commenting noted that Youths need to rise up to the occasion of fighting fake news which has become rampant on the social media.
Adeoba condemned the plan to regulate the social media, noting that that voice of the people cannot be regulated.
Alabidun stressed the need to use the Social media to fight hunger and poverty.
Sam Adegbola who is an International Relations expert and represented by Olowniwa Temitope who is equally an international relations expert said Africa must begin to build relationships through the social media, advocating the platform as a force of change.
While delivering a Closing remark, Ali Sabo of CITAD noted that the event has come at a timely period and the discussions have become pivotal for governance promotion. He reteirated CITAD’s commitment to development and Information Technology development.
The event was supported by Centre for Information Technology and Development; National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); Media Career Development Services Network, PRNigeira, Economic Confidential, YouthsDIgest, Active Youth Advocacy Network, YBTCNews, Academy of Communications among others.
The Pan-African Social Media Summit is organized by TechMirror Magazine.
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