Kampala. Media practitioners meeting in Kampala last Thursday said the open public access to social media is leading to increased disinformation or fake news.
Speaking on the topic: “Social media and (dis)information”, Mr Mark Kaigwa, a lead panellist, said: “Disinformation leads to easy spread of fake news and propaganda, which is a big blow to democratic advancement.”
Mr Kaigwa, who is the chief executive officer of Kenya-based digital business consultancy Nendo, said social media use should be about relevance and not just about affording Internet data and posting any trash. He advised consumers of social media to always filter every information they receive so that they don’t fall victim to fake news.
Other panellists at the Uganda Social Media Conference included Ugandan blogger Ruth Aine, deputy editor of Africa Check Kenya Vincent Ng’ethe, German communications strategist Petra Borrmann, and African Centre for Media Excellence director of programmes Bernard Tabaire.
Mr Tabaire urged social media consumers to educate themselves and understand the context of news circulating around to avoid being misinformed.
On her part, Ms Borrmann said hate speech, which is an age-old phenomenon, had also shifted to the new social media platforms.
“People run to various platforms to express their anger and pain. A post pops up with so much hatred and anger and with anonymous as identity,” Ms Borrmann said.
Mr Kaigwa said back in 2004 when Facebook use had just started, not everyone could afford a smart phone and people then paid more attention to happenings around them.
Mr Kaigwe encouraged social media consumers to visit a quiz called StopReflectVerify.com – Africa’s 1st fake news quiz to tell apart what is fake and authentic.
Social media tax
Ms Aine, while reacting to the audience concerns on social media tax to come into effect today (July 1), said the people deserve a say and should dialogue with the people in power.
About the conference
The event. The Uganda Social Media Conference is an annual event organised by the Uganda country office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. It brings together stakeholders from government, civil society, the academia and media for constructive exchange on the impact of social media on state and society, highlighting both opportunities and challenges.