Our COVID-19 column provides insights from experts on the impact of the coronavirus on Nigeria


Coronavirus and the war against fake news

Yvette Uloma Dimiri

Yvette Uloma Dimiri

Yvette is the Product Manager for Stears Business. She has a B.A in Political Science from The University of Chicago.

Believe it or not, within the first 48 hours of recommended isolation in Lagos, three cures to the novel coronavirus were discovered. Well, at least on WhatsApp:

“Soak aloe vera in water overnight and drink for six straight days.”

“Drink lemon water.” 

 “How to self administer chloroquine.” 

Of course, this was false information, but Nigerians love a good story anyway. Not just for consumption, though, we love to share these stories too, indeed that’s how many of us keep ourselves busy at home. 

What happens when these stories, presented as truth, in fact, are not?

To be honest, disinformation is the second front of this war on Covid-19. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has set up a WhatsApp channel to help tackle the problem at the source. This false information phenomenon, more colloquially termed ‘fake news’ is more popular at the intersection of media and politics; but in contemporary battles against viruses and infections like Ebola and Lassa Fever, disinformation has become a major problem for health authorities. 

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