Social Media Fake News, Myths and Conspiracies on COVID-19: Threat to Public Health in Nigeria
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Keywords

Fake news
Conspiracies
Myths
Covid-19
Public health
Infodemic

How to Cite

Kelvin Inobemhe. (2021). Social Media Fake News, Myths and Conspiracies on COVID-19: Threat to Public Health in Nigeria. Media & Communication Currents, 5(1), 38-55. Retrieved from http://journals.unimaid.edu.ng/index.php/mcc/article/view/134

Abstract

Fake news and conspiracies are often associated with outbreaks such as pandemics and epidemics. Nigeria reported its first confirmed coronavirus case in February of 2020 and since that time, a tsunami of information on the disease has been seen online and offline. Myths, fake news and Covid-19 related conspiracies doubled across social media spaces. The threat of such infodemic on public health can only be imagined as it is impossible to quantify the collateral damage. Decisions taken based on falsehood or conspiracies can have adverse consequences on the health of individual members of society or the entire population. With the use of library research technique, this paper discusses how myths, fake news and conspiracy theories across social media platforms pose threats to public health in Nigeria. The paper with the use of activation theory of information exposure explains the need to create effective health communication to help reduce the impact of infodemic on Nigeria’s public health system even in the face of a pandemic. It therefore concludes that fake news, myths and conspiracies pose serious threats to public health as individuals could rely on them to take decisions that portends immediate and long term danger to the health of individuals and public health in general. Fake news on social media portends danger to public health as uncontrolled information can send consumers of such content into some form or panic mode, just as the chances of ignoring safety protocols may also be high on the part of those exposed to certain information on social media platforms.

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