THE Department of State Services (DSS) has described fake news and social media as the biggest threat to the 2023 general elections.
The DSS spokesperson Peter Afunanya, while responding to questions from journalists at a briefing in Abuja said sharing of fake news along with incorrect and inflammatory commentary has led to violence in some parts of the country.
“We are into elections and political programmes have started. What the media and every stakeholder must do is to ensure that the game is played according to rules. Nigerians must avoid any act that promotes hate and disintegration and say no to the separatist movements, terrorism, fake news, hate speech, religious bigotry and any act that tends to divide us as a nation.
Afunanya urged the general public, particular journalists, to always fact-check information before publishing.
“Social media and fake news are the biggest threat to human existence not only to elections. Fake news is a major cause of violence in our society now. As journalists, you should always fact-check information before publishing.
“We must understand that Nigeria is the only country we have and everyone must put hands on deck to ensure that there is peace. The media should be up and doing in ensuring the peace is restored in the country.
He, however, warned against misinformation and unguarded statements that could derail efforts to deepen Nigeria’s democracy.
“Slanting news to achieve ulterior motives should be avoided and I want to assure that the DSS won’t abdicate its responsibilities and would continue to do the right thing no matter whose ox is gored.”