By Hashim Suleiman
The times have clearly shown that the social media is here to stay and so is fake news. Donald Trump of the almighty America fought fake news to no avail until it and other factors swept him off his seat and the rest is history. These and more showcase the danger and damage that the reality of fake news can cause and so it’s mitigation would have to start to form an integral part of policies and strategies going forward.
In our clime where mundane conversations are the order of the day, you hear people telling you that social media should be regulated and I ask how? We really do overate ourselves to be honest. I have made my research and have not found any country in the world that has succeeded in really regulating the effects of the social media and the major ones are fake news and undue influences. What China did is not really regulation but outright banning and that is not for regulation of fake news per se but for economic reason to advance their alternative applications. In fact, I’m aware that people have a way of accessing these banned apps while in China through some technological ways.
Remember also, I had always been an advocate of advancement of strategies especially in the political culture and growth of our country. However, the more the democracy grows, the more the strategy remains same, so unfortunate. We cannot continue like this and that’s why pundits like us bring to fore the lagging areas in our polity and their attendant effects in the society with a view to calling attention for filling up the gaps.
Fake news has today taken over our political landscape with mischief and blackmail becoming the most utilized political tool. People who don’t recognize how entrenched the fake news phenomenon has become get consumed by it. More and more commercial blackmailers are being produced and you’ll be amazed to know that they are cashing out big time because the patronage is pretty high. You’ll be shocked to see the kinds of vehicles and homes they posses. Most of their followers however follow them out of misinformation and not the commercial part but trust me this army is pretty huge and are ready to believe anything just anything. I really believe that unless well trained and mentored, the human mind is by default more inclined to negativity.
If there is anything that has contributed largely to the state of the Nigerian nation today, it’s this same fake news and mischief agenda. Political opponents of the administration have succeeded in creating armies of vicious haters for the government through dissemination of twisted information and unfortunately the development of the strategic communication team of the presidency was slow and just when Garba Shehu somewhat got his acts together, the damage had become largely irredeemable and that’s why their only option at this point must be a hit back at these individuals since the champions have at-least segregated themselves and are easily identifiable by their words.
One more advantage that the administration got over these merchants is the mannerism and attitude of Muhammadu Buhari over non essential talks, I mean his I don’t care attitude. Such attitude has made such merchants to allow themselves become ridiculed among the few sane and objective ones. However, their army of believers are so enormous and still portend so much danger in the society.
Going by all of these, it was important to bring to the fore especially to the politicians, business owners and aspiring individuals to understand that a strategic communication team is important in their endeavors. Such team cannot be lame or mediocre in any way, it must compose of veterans and brilliantly strategic young men who have a fair understanding of the workings of the social media and the society itself. Such team must have the capacity to manage and change perceptions and fake insinuations. They must have the prowess to engage and sometimes bully off detractors. The man with the better strategic communication team comes on top nowadays.
A care study of a sound strategic communication strategy was the one recently executed by Mr Festus Keyamo in the campaigns of the APC for the 2019 general elections. He successfully bullied off the opposition with their multiple spokespeople as well as the powerful fake news merchants of the social media.
As time moves, things change and so do methods and strategies.
May God bless Nigeria.
Hashim Suleiman Cn be reached firstname.lastname@example.org