Now, I really do like swimming against the tide. It is my forte. Most times, I do that not because I really believe in the position that I am taking but to test my power of logic. This enables me see if I can still indulge in a little bit of deductive reasoning. But sadly, this is not the case as I really do believe in the fact that we should have some form of regulation on social media.
The events that led to the EndSars Protests, both the responsible one and the orgy of violence after, plus the role access to Social Media is being interpreted by its connoisseurs, leaves much to be desired. Let me state here that both sides of the divide are to blame. Every side has turned Social Media, especially twitter into a cesspool of evil.
It cannot continue like this. One can safely say that a vast majority of things posted there are fake and vile. I mean, the misinformation, jibes, abuse, downright verbal assault which have turned cyber bullying into a national pastime. What we now see are digital mobs roaming the vast savannahs of social media, like unguarded locusts looking for things, issues and people to devour. This is sad.
Its relatively easy access, its immediacy and its borderless intimacy makes it a very potent and strong weapon in the wrong hands and in this our clime, the wrong hands in their millions and on all sides now handle the levers and use them to the immense detriment of society and the nation.
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While pushing for this regulation, I would also want to throw up a serious challenge. The so called regulators, are we to trust that they will come to the table with clean hands? That will be very much doubtful, hence the outcry. Like when you push for death sentence for hate speech, or something like that, you begin to wonder if it is not even better to allow the ongoing verbal carnage on twitter than to allow these depots hiding under the constitution to have their way.
With a high level of illiteracy, paucity in public enlightenment and a national inability to trade on issues and facts, an unfettered Social Media is like leaving the Nuclear Codes in the hands of a drunk. We have all just gone through hell with the riots and I must say that they were fueled by the unguarded utterances, pushing of fake news and the irresponsible broadcasting and rebroadcasting of images that were decidedly false to make a point.
An example would suffice, and it is that of a guy holding a supposed dead infant wrapped in the Nigerian flag. That image was very powerful and evoked a lot of anger and rage. Days later, we were now told that it was a scene from a Nollywood movie. But it had been pushed as an after effect of the soldiers’ invasion of the Lekki Toll gate. This, and many more of such, fueled the rage and rendered Lagos and other cities into a sea of burnt infrastructure and perished dreams.
We must find a middle ground on this issue. We must as a people, no matter which side of the fence, seek a position that will be acceptable by all sides because failure to reach this compromise, I fear to think of where we would be if we continue like this.
AUTHOR: Joseph Edgar…
Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.
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