The Commissioner of Police in Kano State, Mr Usaini Gumel, has expressed concern over what he termed as “avalanche” of fake information on social media.
He said that people were being fed with unregulated, false, hateful and defamatory information which had often led to violence in the society.
The News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) reports that Gumel spoke on Sunday in a lecture titled: “The Perils of Social Media, Consequences of Defamation and Spreading of Falsehood”.
He presented the lecture in Gumel during the Youths of Gumel Emirate Facebook Connect Initiative 2023.
According to him, misinformation, hate-speech and defamation of character now flow freely on social media platforms because of ignorance and absence of regulation.
The Commissioner of Police said though the social media has added value to the society, it has also contributed to insecurity, conflicts and religious bigotry in the country.
Gumel observed that a significant number of youths that interact on social media platforms know little or nothing about the legal framework that guide the upright use and the consequences of its misuse.
“It is convincing facts that some of the news and views spread so rapidly through the social media platforms keep causing turbulence and social disharmony among citizens.
“Although the social media have advantages with recognizable multiple merits, the perils however, need not only to be more highlighted but also be tackled with prudence.
“We are all aware that the ability of the social media products consumers are still immature in this century to effectively coordinate the massive information sent to them in text messages, Facebook posts and tweets, etc.
“This is because they keep utilizing them without verifying the authenticity of the contents that could, in some cases, be harmful to them or the society,” he added.
According to him, there are numerous instances where the social media has created social turbulence, resulting in social unrest and sudden rise of online crimes that pose grave threats to the society.
He added that there were records of cases of online harassment of eminent citizens and political personalities, thus exemplifying the behaviour and social sickness of a society.
“This sort of online pestering comprises threat, religious-based abusive statements, hate speeches, blackmail and sometimes upload of morphed pictures etc.
“Those acting this way should always remember that not all victims overlook the damaging effects, and harmful consequences of those actions on their individual and collective fundamental freedoms,” he added.
The Commissioner of Police said it was distressing that government has no or limited control to restrain social media sites except through complete shutdown of the internet or ban of a particular platform in case of violation.
“As a result, the social media has regularly been employed by adversaries of the state as well as non-state actors who, in most cases, create misinformation, fictitious narratives, hate propaganda, inciting fear, false alarm, infuse mutual distrust, etc.
“These started to impact the various facet of human life and day to day functioning of societies, which further destabilized national integration and security of a country,” he said.
Gumel advised social media handlers to be wary of false information and use of fowl languages capable of causing social unrest, defamation of character and threat to national security. (NAN)