Misinformation During Electoral Process : These Lurking Dangers

Propagation of fake news, publication of wrong statistics and creation of fake social media profiles are some of the threats to public order during such a period.

Sadly, social media has become a major source of fake news, with disinformation used as a tool in manipulating public opinion. And the manner in which misinformation unfortunately spreads is worrisome, as it moves with the speed of light. In addition, misinformation circulated on the social media affects content published in traditional media. One can only image the consequences of misinformation, and the situation becomes worst during an electoral period, as this can lead to tensions with far reaching effects.
Amongst the hazards of misinformation is the propagation of fake news. The rate of fake news being circulated on the social media during an election period is alarming. The social media has proclaimed candidates victorious, who after the official tally of results and its subsequent publication by competent authorities did not win. During the election of Presidents of Regional Assemblies in Cameroon, a list of ten names made strong waves on social media. As an example of fake news, the list circulated did not reflect field realities. Fake news has stirred emotions that later generated actions that could not have happened if the truth was rather published.
Wrong statistics are also published during an electoral process. The publication of partial or full results by individuals is prohibited in Cameroon. The Electoral Code presents every stage of an electoral process, which is expected to be respected by all. Public and private structures have been destroyed and fights erupted following the publication of such unfounded statistics that are usually fabricated in the comfort of a room, with the use of a phone.  
Creating fake social media profiles is also common during an electoral process. Most often, the fake profiles are those of stakeholders in the electoral process. The profiles are used to make unfounded declarations that can cause public disorder. This is because the statements are not usually legally binding when compared with the personality to which ...


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