“’Fake News’ on The Internet: ‘A multi-tentacular problem’

“’Fake News’ on The Internet: ‘A multi-tentacular problem’

In Africa, a wide variety of false information is being disseminated online. Sometimes that is done inadvertently, but far too often deliberately. Perpetrators are pursuing financial, ideological, political and other interests. The harmful impacts are real (see box). They include loss of money, destroyed reputations and social upheaval. When misinformation stokes religious or tribal hatred, deadly violence can follow.

The political dimensions of fake news tend to attract a lot of attention. The reason is that, in democratic societies, public discourse should be geared to the common good, so disinformation and propaganda undermine good governance.

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