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Urgent Need For Peacebuilding through the Social Media

March 17th, 2024

by Victor Okechukwu Chimezie

Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Various social media platforms include Facebook, X(twitter), LinkedIn, WhatsApp, telegram, Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat etc. Social media has recently become a very powerful tool to sell a brand, pass information, sell a candidate during elections and do a lot of things both on the positive and on the negative too. Statistics show that 5.04 billion people, which is 62.3 per cent of the world’s population, use social media daily, which is really massive. 

Users of social media platforms must now intentionally be careful of information being passed across to them and how it gets them to act or react and this is where peacebuilding comes in.

In recent times, loads of hate speech, misinformation (wrong information shared in error), malinformation (information twisted to cause harm on a person or group of persons) and disinformation(wrong information intentionally disseminated) are found on the social media and are instigating violence in order to drive an agenda and this is why we must curtail it. Sometimes, this wrong information leads to violence against a person or group based on conviction or affiliation or during elections.

Social media is being targeted by fake news propagators due to the huge population of young and agile individuals on social media, many of whom have little or no media literacy skills.

To build peace via the social media, individuals must verify and critically analyze all information they see on social media and not take in everything hook, line and sinker. The source of information and the probable reason for the information or the agenda should also be looked at before accepting or sharing such information. We must also stop sharing information based on bias and stereotypes as they are most times made to instigate violence against a person or groups of persons.

Social media organizations must step up their game to stop intentional fake news and hate speech peddlers from finding it easy to use their medium for ulterior motives. They can do this by making sure fact-checking mediums are active and that groups who have intentionally disseminated hate speech and fake news over time are penalized.

Government, International organizations, religious and cultural groups and civil society groups must continue to carry out media literacy programs and ensure strict penalties for fake news and hate speech peddlers, so as to safeguard the lives of citizens and also make sure that they themselves are not carriers or propagators of fake news and hate speech.

There are many benefits to using social media and one huge benefit is that it can be used to build peace and stop the spread of violence and extremism.

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About the author

Victor Okechukwu Chimezie

Victor Okechukwu Chimezie is the immediate past country co-ordinator for Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network in Nigeria, with six years experience in peacebuilding. He is also an Institute for Economics and Peace Ambassador, a United States Institute for Peace Generation Change Fellow 2022 and a Rotary Positive Peace Activator. He hopes to be a voice driving youths’ inclusion and implementation of the Youth Peace & Security agenda in Africa

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by Victor Okechukwu Chimezie

Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Various social media platforms include Facebook, X(twitter), LinkedIn, WhatsApp, telegram, Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat etc. Social media has recently become a very powerful tool to sell a brand, pass information, sell a candidate during elections and do a lot of things both on the positive and on the negative too. Statistics show that 5.04 billion people, which is 62.3 per cent of the world’s population, use social media daily, which is really massive. 

Users of social media platforms must now intentionally be careful of information being passed across to them and how it gets them to act or react and this is where peacebuilding comes in.

In recent times, loads of hate speech, misinformation (wrong information shared in error), malinformation (information twisted to cause harm on a person or group of persons) and disinformation(wrong information intentionally disseminated) are found on the social media and are instigating violence in order to drive an agenda and this is why we must curtail it. Sometimes, this wrong information leads to violence against a person or group based on conviction or affiliation or during elections.

Social media is being targeted by fake news propagators due to the huge population of young and agile individuals on social media, many of whom have little or no media literacy skills.

To build peace via the social media, individuals must verify and critically analyze all information they see on social media and not take in everything hook, line and sinker. The source of information and the probable reason for the information or the agenda should also be looked at before accepting or sharing such information. We must also stop sharing information based on bias and stereotypes as they are most times made to instigate violence against a person or groups of persons.

Social media organizations must step up their game to stop intentional fake news and hate speech peddlers from finding it easy to use their medium for ulterior motives. They can do this by making sure fact-checking mediums are active and that groups who have intentionally disseminated hate speech and fake news over time are penalized.

Government, International organizations, religious and cultural groups and civil society groups must continue to carry out media literacy programs and ensure strict penalties for fake news and hate speech peddlers, so as to safeguard the lives of citizens and also make sure that they themselves are not carriers or propagators of fake news and hate speech.

There are many benefits to using social media and one huge benefit is that it can be used to build peace and stop the spread of violence and extremism.