SUMMARYThe 11TH edition of Soma Connect saw about 50 audiences gathered in Lenana Hall at KICC to converse on how to debunk the ever-increasing cases of fake news.Digital media expert and Founder of Nendo, Mark Kaigwa led the discussion on how fake news has affected cooperates, businesses as well as media houses and how to fight the vice. According to Steve Chege, Director of Corporate Affairs at Safaricom, fake news creators mostly use social media to propagate their reports and Safaricom has faced numerous challenges on fake news regarding the Mpesa upgrade.“We have to be prepared on how to fight the effects of fake news. The internet has become affordable and accessible to everyone. Anyone can publish content on social media. We tend to share these content in our social forums such as Whatsapp groups without verifying them,” said Chege.Mr Chege also pointed out that information published or shared online by individuals and even bloggers may lack truth in them. Most of bloggers merely want to attract advertisers.“Emotions are very high during election period which could cause the spread of Fake News. Sensational bloggers who are also used as influencers want hits at the expense of the truth. Kenyan Politicians know that fake news works for them so they generate content that works for their agenda,”noted Grace Githaiga an administrator at KICTANet (a multi-stakeholder forum for parties interested in ICT policy and regulation).Grace insisted on the need to verify information before sharing it by simply applying a two-step verification process: Rethinking and consulting a reliable source.Julian Wanjiru, a Citizen Journalism Editor and Social Media Lead at Standard Digital explained several challenges the department has faced and the methods they have employed to curb fake news from being published.“We live in a post-truth era where objective facts are not important anymore compared to emotional appeals and personal beliefs. Standard Digital has had to employ tools to verify content received through social media platforms to avoid falling victim to fake news. We have had to verify content multiple times and the slight delay has created a vacuum for bloggers to spread propaganda and false news, explained JulianPanelist at the SOMA Connect 11th Edition from left ( DR. Joseph Nasongo, Julian Kamau, Mark Kaigwa, Grace Githaiga and Steve Chege)“Use of fake tweet generators have become commonplace. We need to be critical in what we share and accountable on what we put out on social media,” she insisted.Joseph Nasongo, a commissioner of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) said fake news invokes counter reactions which challenge national cohesion and therefore we must all be responsible for what we share.“So far there are 273 reported cases around election periodrnbeing dealt with over fake news crisis,” said NasongoAs Nasongo explains, holding Whatsapp admins accountable for fake news is meant to ensure moderation of conversations in these groups. The risk of fake news can be controlled.
- The 11TH edition of Soma Connect was held to debunk the ever-increasing cases of fake news
- Media Houses, businesses and corporations were among the most affect with fake news
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