The value of social media is facing the danger of a huge compromise, as Lagos residents battle with the misinformation that is constantly emanating from it.

With the rate of misinformation being generated and subsequently passed around on social media, particularly with the aid of mobile devices such the BlackBerry, many residents have started to express concern over the new trend.

As described by a BlackBerry user, Ibukun Eyitayo, the advantage of the social network to get people informed was being compromised by the “broadcast of all sorts of wrong information”.

“Now, people send all kinds of information, especially on BB (BlackBerry) and at the end of the day, one realises that such information is false,” she said.

For instance, in the last few months alone, information have circulated via the social network that have put many residents on the edge.

First, social media users in the state received information that produce coming from the northern part of the country, such as groundnut and date, had been poisoned by insurgent sect, Boko Haram.

Following that, another information calling for swift rebroadcast hit the social media, asking people to avoid “killer oranges which had claimed 13 lives”.

Just last week, there was another report that a group of students going to the University of Lagos, Akoka, had been kidnapped after boarding a bus at Obanikoro. Another report later stated that the kidnappers had been caught in Ilorin, Kwara State, but that three of the abductees had already been killed.

One report also stated that a bridge around Isolo, on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway had collapsed, killing three persons and injuring others.

The State Police Command has, however, warned people to desist from causing panic in the state by circulating false information.
In a recent statement to debunk the “killer oranges” rumour, the spokesperson for the command, Ngozi Braide, advised “members of the public to use communication channels responsibly and?not to engage in rumour peddling”.

“The public should also seek confirmation of such rumours before broadcasting, as that could be malicious and at the same time disrupt peace in the State,” she said.

Another BlackBerry user, Olumide Yakubu, described the situation as “unfortunate”.

“It’s unfortunate because there are some of us (social media) who feel concerned when we get such messages and can’t help but rebroadcast such false information to everyone we can,” he said.

“The danger is that some people may lose trust in what they read on the social media that they will fail to act when genuine information is being passed around.”

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