PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Voters be sceptical about social media

In Summary

• Kenya is swamped with fake political news, according to international research

• In 2013 and 2017 Cambridge Analytica attempted to shift the election result with targeted social media

Big media companies like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok make a token effort to moderate their content but they are trying to hold back a tidal wave. There is a limit to what they can do.
Big media companies like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok make a token effort to moderate their content but they are trying to hold back a tidal wave. There is a limit to what they can do.
Image: FILE

A recent media forum in Germany said that Kenya's upcoming presidential election was particularly susceptible to fake news.

In 2013 and 2017 Cambridge Analytica ran divisive digital campaigns that demonised Raila Odinga. It is still not clear how much difference that made in determining the final election result.

Since then politicians have increasingly resorted to using social media to propagate their profile and messages. Unfortunately teams of trolls have also started working to spread smear stories about rival candidates. We now live in a very unhealthy social media environment where it is no longer clear what is true or false.

Big media companies like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok make a token effort to moderate their content but they are trying to hold back a tidal wave. There is a limit to what they can do.

It has become very difficult for voters to make informed decisions because they are surrounded by propaganda, fake news, and falsehoods.

Voters need to exercise extreme scepticism about what they are told. They need to do their best to decide what is true and false. And they should vote based on their own analysis, not on what they have seen on social media.

Quote of the day: “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The Swiss philosopher was born on June 28, 1712

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